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While the knockouts will be match practice for the likes of Rohit and Yuzvendra Chahal, playing for Haryana, in the lead-up to the limited overs matches against West Indies, others like Shahbaz Nadeem, Ishan Kishan (both Jharkhand) and Ankit Bawne (Maharashtra) will look to impress the selectors in white ball cricket. TOI looks at the quarterfinal match-ups:
Mumbai vs Bihar (On Sunday, at Just Cricket Ground)
Mumbai lined up a team comprising Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and later Shardul Thakur. All four have been out of the team at various stages due to their national team and Board President’s XI commitment. But that did nothing to derail the mighty Mumbai campaign who went on to remain unbeaten and topped Group A. While the focus in the quarterfinals will clearly be on Rohit Sharma. Bihar will look to take pressure and the former champions in their stride.
It is a contest between unequal. Mumbai are the traditional warhorses and new entrants Bihar topped the plate division. But the real test for Bihar will begin against the giants and the Keshav Kumar side will have to play out of their skin to make a match out of it.
Delhi vs Haryana (On Sunday, at the M Chinnaswamy stadium)
Delhi, who topped Group B with six wins and a loss, have mostly relied on their batting to see them through while Haryana’s challenge has been spearheaded by seasoned leg-spinner Amit Mishra and pacer Harshal Patel.
For Delhi, Gautam Gambhir has weighed in with his experience with the bat and has found an able ally in Nitish Rana and even Dhruv Shorey. On the other hand, Haryana have relied on small but significant contributions from their batsmen to see then through and back their bowlers. This is a contest which can go either ways.
Jharkhand vs Maharashtra (On Monday, M Chinnaswamy stadium)
Two teams which have relied heavily on teamwork rather than individual brilliance throughout the league stage. On most occasions they have had at least a couple of players performing well. Jharkhand were supposed to have been bolstered by the presence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but the team management on Saturday confirmed Dhoni will not play the match.
But Jharkhand have shown enough spunk even otherwise with left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem being in an awe-inspiring form with his figures of 10-4-10-8 against Rajasthan in Group C. Complementing him has been pacer Varun Aaron. Ishan Kishan and Anand Singh have been the front runners among batsmen.
Maharashtra too have been on a roll. Their only blip in the league stage was their shock loss to a struggling Vidarbha. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ankit Bawne have come good with the bat and among bowlers, Jharkhand will be wary of left-arm spinner Satyajeet Bachhav and left-arm pacer Samad Fallah.
Hyderabad vs Andhra (On Monday, Just Cricket Ground)
In terms of recent performances, Andhra hold a slight edge over Hyderabad. Andhra too have relied on an overall show to make their way into the knockouts. While Karn Sharma and Shoaib Khan have been their key wicket-takers, the others will have to step up in the knockout contest. Among batsmen, Hanuma Vihari has been a disappointment and Ravi Teja, Ashwin Hebbar and B Sumanth have shouldered the responsibilities of the batting unit.
Mehdi Hassan and CV Milind will be the mainstay of the Hyderabad bowling attack while Rohit Rayudu, Tanmay Agarwal, BP Sandeep and Akshath Reddy will be the key batsmen.
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