Some close contests are expected over the next week as the knockout stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy begins at the Eden Gardens, the Jadavpur University ground and the 22 Yards ground here from Sunday.
The group stage was highly competitive cricket, which was evident from two top-place finishers, Delhi in Group B and Bengal in Group D, gathering identical points as the second-placed sides in their respective groups.
With the competition becoming more intense in the knockout stage, one may see the use of the ‘impact player’ more often.
While Karnataka batter Devdutt Padikkal has been replaced with Rohan Patil, Bengal seamer Ishan Porel is said to be ‘indisposed.’
Nevertheless, one will see several stars including Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma, Nitish Rana, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey in action.
The elimination phase will start from the pre-quarterfinal matches with Punjab taking on Haryana, Vidarbha meeting Chhattisgarh and Kerala facing Saurashtra on Sunday.
The winners of these engagements will clash with direct qualifiers Mumbai, Delhi and Karnataka in the last-eight on Tuesday. Host Bengal will lock horns with Himachal Pradesh in the other quarterfinal.
The semifinals will be held on November 3 and the final on November 5.