Vijay Hazare Trophy: Chandigarh in a group of fresh entrants

Uttarakhand and Chandigarh, the new entrant, are likely to jostle for the top spot in the Plate Group of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, which got underway on Tuesday.

Chandigarh skipper Manan Vohra (batting) will look to come good with the bat as his team makes its debut in the Indian domestic circuit. (File photo)   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Uttarakhand and Chandigarh, the new entrant, are likely to jostle for the top spot in the Plate Group of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Six teams from the north-east – Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim – and Puducherry will hope to utilise the experience of their first year in BCCI domestic season but a quarterfinal spot for any of these sides is unlikely. Only one team from the group goes through to the knockout rounds, and Uttarakhand and Chandigarh would be hard to dislodge.

Day One of this nondescript group was a cloudy one with brief spells of sunshine and a heavy spell of rain. It meant run-making and wicket-taking periods were both on display. All six teams from the north-east were in action. Mizoram and Meghalaya garnered wins – against Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, respectively. The contest between Nagaland and Manipur, played at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here had to be abandoned after a considerable period of rain.

These teams would still look to their guest players to perform for them. On Tuesday, it D. B. Ravi Teja, formerly of Andhra, scored a century to lead Meghalaya to a resounding win.

Taruwar Kohli, who led the run-charts for Mizoram (373 runs in seven innings) last season, leads the side this time. For Nagaland, the big player will be Stuart Binny. Sikkim, which finished last in the group last season, failing to win a single game, has left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla this time.

Thanks to the entry of Chandigarh, Sikkim and Meghalaya have lost potent professionals in all-rounder Bipul Sharma and left-arm spinner Gurinder Singh.

With stars in Uday Kaul, Manan Vohra and Barinder Sran, Chandigarh appears a strong side within the group and a contender for the quarterfinal spot, alongside Uttarakhand, which will be led by Unmukt Chand, the batsman from Delhi. Puducherry, which won five of its eight matches this season, will hope to do well again. It has seasoned players in K. B. Arun Karthik, Paras Dogra and R. Vinay Kumar.

All matches will be held in Dehradun, in four venues: the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, the Abhimanyu Cricket Academy, the Tanush Academy Ground,and the Kasiga College Ground.