Ranji Round 8 Preview: Confident Gujarat take on TN

Gujarat, on a high after two considecutive wins, will face Tamil Nadu, who need victories to get into the knockout rounds, in Tirunelveli.

Karnataka have ejoyed an upward curve but are still in the mid-regions of the table.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy -

Parthiv Patel, Gujarat's captain and wicketkeeper, has scored 434 runs in 10 innings in the ongoing season.   -  Basheer

On the back of two convincing wins leading up to Round Eight in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, Gujarat find themselves at the second spot in the Group B table. The six matches played have so far yielded them 22 points, with three wins, a loss and two drawn encounters. Parthiv Patel, their captain and wicketkeeper, and top-order batsman Priyank Panchal have shone with the bat, and Rujul Bhatt, the off-spinner, has consistently taken wickets. The presence of former India seamer R. P. Singh is an ace up their sleeve: his five wickets against Madhya Pradesh in Round Seven was a match-winning effort.

Their prospective opponents Tamil Nadu have suffered a period of dullness after a bright start to the tournament. Despite a close loss against Mumbai, they were well in the race for a knockout berth. After a comfortable victory against Railways in Round Five, they were able to extract only one point from their home game against Andhra, due to considerable rainfall, and then were at the receiving end of an onslaught by Suresh Raina against Uttar Pradesh last week that could have consigned them to a defeat had the top order not provided a resistance for the entire final day. They occupy the sixth spot, five points behind Gujarat.

The spinners, in Raheel Shah and Malolan Rangarajan, have been the major wicket-takers; captain Abhinav Mukund will hope for a spin-friendly wicket in Tirunelveli to help get a victory. Their fast bowlers, led by player-coach Lakshmipathy Balaji, and Aswin Crist, can be effective as well. A strong batting line-up, consisting of players who have represented India, make them a well-rounded side, but so far unable to get the results, they will hope for a turnaround, albeit against a side possessing confidence gained by a winning momentum.





It has been raining heavily in Tirunelveli, to have the Gujarat players playing cards inside their hotel rooms.

Defending champions take on current table-toppers

Another battle of heavyweights will commence in Hubli. Karnataka, a side that has gained ground in respectable fashion after a slow start, will face Delhi, the table-toppers of Group A despite infighting and chaos surrounding their board seemingly perennially. Delhi will be hurt by their away loss to Assam, and considering defending champions Karnataka, currently in the fourth spot, will need victories in the remaining two rounds before the knockouts, they will have a tough battle ahead.

Fixtures:

Group A

Bengal vs Odisha in Kalyani

Haryana vs Rajasthan in Rohtak

Karnataka vs Delhi in Hubli

Maharashtra vs Assam in Pune

Group B

Madhya Pradesh vs Mumbai in Indore

Railways vs Andhra in New Delhi

Tamil Nadu vs Gujarat in Tirunelveli

Uttar Pradesh vs Punjab in Kanpur

Group C

Hyderabad vs Tripura in Hyderabad

Jammu and Kashmir vs Goa in Jammu

Jharkhand vs Himachal Pradesh in Ranchi

Kerala vs Saurashtra in Malappuram