Vijay Hazare: All eyes on Shikhar Dhawan as Delhi faces Gujarat

The opener has one half-century in six matches, and will be keen to fire for his State side on Sunday.

File Photo: Shikhar Dhawan hasn’t been in the best of form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.   -  S. Subramanium

After an long league phase, eight teams have qualified for the knockout phase beginning here on Sunday.

An interesting contest is in offing when Delhi and Gujarat meet at the Just Cricket Ground here. Delhi will be hoping that the experienced Shikhar Dhawan gets going and guides the young batting unit. Fast bowler Navdeep Saini will be key for Delhi against the rival batting line-up that includes Parthiv Patel and Priyank Panchal, among others.

Tough task

Mumbai faces a tough task in its bid to retain its title. It takes on Chhattisgarh in one of the quarterfinals and is likely to face Tamil Nadu in the semifinal if it qualifies. Tamil Nadu, which won all its matches in the group stages, plays Punjab. Both matches will be held on October 21.

Mumbai had some luck in being able to make it to the last eight despite two of its games being abandoned due to inclement weather. Having lost to Chhattisgarh in the group stages, it will be eyeing a revenge.

All eyes will be on young Yashasvi Jaiswal, who became the youngest player in the world to slam a List-A double hundred when he scored 203 against Jharkhand earlier this week. Jaiswal (382 runs) and the experienced Aditya Tare (286 runs) have been among runs, but Siddhesh Lad, captain Shreyas Iyer and the bowlers would need to step up.

Task cut out

Chhattisgarh would hope its star player Amandeep Khare comes to the fore again, and the bowlers will have their job cut out against a strong Mumbai line-up.

The Tamil Nadu has been well served by its experienced players — Abhinav Mukund (513 runs), M. Vijay, Baba Aparajith (470 runs) and all-rounder Vijay Shankar. Captain Dinesh Karthik himself was in superb touch and showed that his finishing skills remain undiminished. He scored 349 runs in the league phase at a strike-rate of 135.79.

Young batsman M. Shahrukh Khan, too, underlined his big-hitting abilities and was involved in some useful partnerships with the captain. Having been in stupendous form in Group ‘C’, Tamil Nadu runs into Punjab. On paper, the in-form Tamil Nadu may go in as favourite but Punjab will more than a handful with a strong bowling attack.

Change in weather conditions

Having thrived in Jaipur, Tamil Nadu will endure different conditions in Bengaluru where rains have played a big part. The bowling line-up — including left-arm pacer T. Natarajan and K. Vignesh — will be up against the likes of Anmolpreet Singh (462 runs from nine matches) and Gurkeerat Singh Mann, among others.

Tamil Nadu hasn’t had the best of runs in the last couple of seasons, and its performance in the preliminary phase should augur well for the side.

Meanwhile, Karnataka has won seven of its eight matches in Group A and faces newcomer Puducherry in the quarterfinals. Pandey, with 505 runs from eight matches, has been in good nick, along with opener Devdutt Padikkal.

However, the team will not be taking Puducherry, which includes Karnataka star R. Vijay Kumar, lightly.

Fixtures
  • October 20: Karnataka vs Puducherry; Delhi vs Gujarat.
  • October 21: Tamil Nadu vs Punjab; Chhattisgarh vs Mumbai.