With only three more rounds to play, the race for the quarterfinals spot is heating up in the Ranji Trophy. Among the four Elite groups, defending champions Madhya Pradesh with 26 points are leading second placed Gujarat by 12 points in Group D. Another win will take them through to quarterfinals.
But in other groups, there is still plenty to play for. Especially in Group B, Saurashtra, Mumbai, Maharashtra are separated by only three points. In Group C, although Karnataka are top with 19 points, Rajasthan (14), Kerala (13) and Chhattisgarh (13) trail them closely. Uttarakhand (20) and Bengal (19) are on top in Group A with Baroda (13) and Himachal Pradesh (11) trying to keep pace with leaders.
All eyes on Easwaran
With the Test series against Australia coming up, Bengal’s Abhimanyu Easwaran has another chance to make a call for his inclusion as Bengal takes on Baroda. The opener has been in good form, scoring five centuries on the trot for India A and Bengal.
Assam test for Mumbai
In a tournament where home advantage counts for a lot, Mumbai went down to Saurashtra and failed to beat Tamil Nadu in successive home games. Now they face Assam in this round, a tricky opponent and one team that has punched above its weight this domestic season. With three more matches to go, Mumbai would like to seal their quarterfinal spot before they return home for their final league match against Maharashtra. After Assam, they face Delhi away.
In the Plate category, which will have separate winners this time, Meghalaya have already made it to the semi-finals with 25 points, winning all the four matches they have played so far. Alongside Madhya Pradesh they are the only team to have won all the matches they have played. For the remaining three semi-finals spots, Manipur (14), Sikkim (13), Bihar (11) and Mizoram (7) are in the fray. Mizoram vs Bihar is a straight shoot-out for the semifinals. Among the four, Sikkim have the easiest fixture as they take on Arunachal Pradesh who are yet to open their account. Manipur takes on Meghalaya.
Live on Hotstar
Bengal vs Baroda (9 am)
Madhya Pradesh vs Gujarat (9.30 am)
Punjab vs Jammu & Kashmir (9.30 am)