All eyes on Pujara as Saurashtra takes on UP

Uttar Pradesh, on the other hand, have the advantage of playing at home with skipper Akshdeep Nath, Rinku Singh in red-hot form.

Cheteshwar Pujara paved the way for a historic Test series win in Australia with three centuries.   -  FILE PHOTO/VIVEK BENDRE

All eyes will be on Cheteshwar Pujara, hero of India’s maiden Test series triumph in Australia, when an upbeat Saurashtra faces Uttar Pradesh in a Ranji Trophy quarterfinal beginning here on Tuesday.

Pujara confirming his availability for the crucial tie is a big shot in the arm for Saurashtra, which was undefeated in Group A alongside Vidarbha with three wins and five draws.

India’s batting machine paved the way for a historic Test series win in Australia with three centuries.

Saurashtra go into the must-win game high on confidence, having taken the first innings lead against defending champions Vidarbha with lead pacer and captain Jaydev Unadkat taking six wickets for 56 runs.

READ| Ranji Trophy: UP skipper Nath ready for Pujara challenge

Apart from Pujara, a lot will be expected from Sheldon Jackson who has been the team’s leading run-scorer this season with 613 runs at 47.15. Harvik Desai has also been amongst runs, scoring 538 at 35.86.

In the bowling department, Unadkat will expect left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja to deliver as he has been all through this season, collecting 38 wickets in eight games.

READ| Karnataka faces stiff Rajasthan challenge in quarters

Uttar Pradesh, on the other hand, have the advantage of playing at home.

They will be relying on Rinku Singh (803 runs), Priyam Garg (740) and Akshdeep Nath (709) to put the runs on the board.

READ| Kerala raring to go against Gujarat

Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Dhapola and Ankit Rajpoot have been their go-to bowlers so far.

Left-arm spinner Kumar has taken 50 wickets at 15.54.

Squads

Saurashtra (From): Snell Patel(w), Harvik Desai, Vishvaraj Jadeja, Sheldon Jackson, Aarpit Vasavada, Prerak Mankad, Cheteshwar Pujara, Chirag Jani, Kamlesh Makvana, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Jaydev Unadkat(c), Chetan Sakariya, Hardik Rathod, Jay Chauhan, Samarth Vyas, Agnivesh Ayachi

Uttar Pradesh (From): Akshdeep Nath(c), Upendra Yadav(w), Samarth Singh, Rinku Singh, Shivam Chaudhary, Umang Sharma, Priyam Garg, Saurabh Kumar, Ankit Rajpoot, Yash Dayal, Dhruv Pratap Singh, Imtiaz Ahmed, Mohammad Saif, Zeeshan Ansari, Madhav Kaushik, Shivam Mavi, Suresh Raina

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