The past three weeks have produced some superb cricket, thrilling finishes, plenty of drama and even a tie. If all that isn’t enough, there has also been an instance of ‘Mankading’.
The Group C matches of the Vijay Hazare Trophy tournament, played at three venues in the city, would come to an end on Wednesday.
The game between Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, to be held at the Jaipuriya Vidyalaya Ground will decide who tops the pool.
Both have already qualified for the quarterfinals, to be played in Bengaluru from October 20; remarkably enough, they have won all their eight games.
One of them may have to forfeit that unbeaten record before the sun sets on Wednesday – that is if the city doesn’t witness another tie, like the one played between Bengal and Railways just a couple of days ago.
Neither Tamil Nadu nor Gujarat would settle for anything less than a victory. They both have done amazingly well to reach where they have in this tournament.
Tamil Nadu may look stronger on paper and have looked more convincing, but Gujarat has the resources to stop a side that has been just cruising along.
The teams, both captained by two talented wicket-keeper batsmen who have between them played 217 matches for India, should produce some exciting cricket.
Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel have both led from the front. They have been amongst the runs, too.
Karthik, in particular, has been in astonishing form. His 349 runs have been scored at an average of 116.33 and a strike rate of 136.32.
Baba Aparajith (445 runs), Abhinav Mukund (387) and Vijay Shankar (304) have been consistent at the top of the order, while M. Shahrukh Khan has come up with some mighty towards the end, with a strike rate of 138.53.
Tamil Nadu also has an excellent and varied bowling attack. Seamers K. Vignesh (13 wickets), T. Natarajan (10), and M. Mohammed (10) as well as spinners M. Ashwin (11), R. Sai Kishore (nine) and Aparajith (nine) have all impressed.
Gujarat’s bowling is spearheaded by left-arm seamer Rush Kalaria, who has so far claimed 17 wickets. Fellow-pacers Arzan Nagwaswalla (11) and Chintan Gaja (10) have supported him well. The experienced spin duo of Piyush Chawla (12) Axar Patel (10) adds more teeth to the attack.
As for runs, Gujarat has depended mainly on Bhargav Merai (366 runs) skipper Parthiv (347) and Priyank Panchal (261). The batting may not look as formidable as that of Tamil Nadu, but it has done the job.
The match is one last opportunity for both the teams to test themselves before they take on stronger oppositions in Bengaluru.
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