Ranji Trophy Plate group: Sikkim, Uttarakhand in focus

Sikkim will heavily rely on its guest player, Milind Kumar, who has hammered double centuries in consecutive matches; for Uttarakhand, the spotlight will be on Deepak Dhapola, who has scalped 21 wickets so far.

The Sikkim cricket team after beating Nagaland in the second round of the Ranji Trophy in Dimpaur.   -  SIKKIM CRICKET ASSOCIATION

 

These are still early days in the tournament, but the nine new teams in the Plate group have actually made their presence felt in the Ranji Trophy.

As the third round gets underway on Tuesday, all eyes will be on the in-form teams, Sikkim and Uttarakhand. Both the sides have registered outright wins in their previous two games, and it will be a clash of the evens at the KIIT Ground in Bhubaneswar.

READ| Saurashtra faces Gujarat sans Pujara, Jadeja

While Sikkim will heavily rely on its guest player, Milind Kumar, who has hammered double centuries in consecutive matches; for Uttarakhand, the focus will be on Deepak Dhapola, who has scalped 21 wickets — including three five-wicket hauls.

After disappointment in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Sikkim has banked on its three professional players — Milind, Bipul Sharma and Ishwar Choudhury. With all three contributing, the side has had a good start to the longer format.

ALSO READ| Bengal eyes season’s first win against in-form Kerala

In Shillong, Meghalaya will lock horns with Nagaland. Both the sides have had mixed outings so far with a win and a loss. And it will be an opportunity for both to fire.

In Puducherry, Bihar — which lost its opener in the first round — will face stiff challenge from the home team. With Abhishek Nayar, Pankaj Singh and captain Rohit Damodaren in good form, Puducherry will have the edge.

But Bihar has some young talents and also features Pragyan Ojha as the captain. That could help them pull off a surprise against a stronger opponent.

The other fixture will be in Jorhat where Mizoram will play Manipur. Both the sides have had forgettable outings so far, and they will hoping to bounce back.

The fixtures

In Bhubaneswar: Sikkim vs Uttarakhand

In Jorhat: Mizoram vs Manipur

In Shillong: Meghalaya vs Nagaland

In Puducherry: Puducherry vs Bihar