On the eve of the final round of Ranji Trophy league match against Rajasthan, Delhi is not even looking at an almost improbable mathematical possibility of making the quarterfinals.
Having collected just 18 points and placed tied-ninth with defending champion Vidarbha, Delhi has more uncontrollable factors to deal with, than the controllable ones, in its path to the knockout stage. In all, there are five quarterfinal spots for 18 teams divided into two Elite groups.
Ranji Trophy: Bengal, Punjab clash for knockout berth
First of all, Delhi needs to beat Rajasthan (16 points) with a bonus point and keep up a quotient higher than Karnataka (25). It has to then hope that Punjab (24) and Karnataka lose, Uttar Pradesh (20) and Tamil Nadu (19) are locked in drawn encounters and Vidarbha does not gain a bonus. In short, far too many results have to favour Delhi to help its qualification.
In any case, barring a few matches, Delhi has dished out too many ordinary performances to merit a place in the last-eight. Injuries to its pace bowlers hurt the side throughout the season. Delhi’s top-order batting has failed more often than not. Two matches where Delhi rose to the occasion, and won, came at home against lowly-placed Hyderabad and a fighting Vidarbha.
Rajasthan, on the other hand, is out of reckoning for a place in the last-eight stage. Four defeats, in seven matches certainly spoilt Rajasthan’s chances. Now, much like Delhi, it is looking for a consolation of finishing on a high.
Delhi has made a change in the squad with spinner Shivank Vashisht coming in for left-arm seamer Kulwant Khejroliya. Since the pitch is likely to assist the spinners, Delhi’s decision looks justified.
For Rajasthan, Ashok Menaria (512 runs), Rituraj Singh (22 wickets), Tanveer Ul-Haq (21) and S.K. Sharma (19) have been major contributors to the team’s limited success this season. It is much like Delhi, for which Nitish Rana (477 runs) and Simarjeet Singh (26 wickets) have stood out in the midst of some inconsistent performers.
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