Not just a thumping outright win, but also a clutch of results elsewhere in the group will decide whether Haryana and Tamil Nadu can reach the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy as they clash in their last Group ‘B’ match at the picturesque IC-Gurunanak cricket ground, here on Saturday.

Currently placed seventh and eighth respectively, Tamil Nadu and Haryana are tied on 13 points and the possibility of either team getting relegated can’t be ruled out too.

“We are just looking at it like any other game,” said Tamil Nadu coach V.B. Chandrasekhar. “We had a lot of opportunities. We had teams at six wickets down, seven wickets down in the previous games, but could not apply the closure,” he added, ruing the host of missed chances.

Tamil Nadu will have a new captain in charge. Middle order bat R. Prasanna, who has been Tamil Nadu’s go-to man this season in the event of a crisis, will lead the side in place of Dinesh Karthik, who led the team in its previous game against Uttar Pradesh.

“I am happy to get the opportunity,” Prasanna said. “I was informed by the TNCA [of him being named skipper], but I am not aware of the reasons,” he added.

The side, however, continues to be without the services of regular skipper L. Balaji and S. Badrinath, who are nursing a toe injury and a sore back respectively.

Its opponent and last season’s semifinalist, Haryana will be without skipper Amit Mishra, who is part of the Indian One Day International side against Pakistan.

“It’s a do or die game,” said stand-in captain Nitin Saini. “They [Tamil Nadu] will also be feeling the same pressure as we are. It should be a good game,” he added.

Mishra’s absence will be big blow to the side. A double century in the previous game against Karnataka saved Haryana the blushes and his leg-spin will be sorely missed.

With the conditions expected to be overcast, there was no clarity on his replacement. “We will have a look at the wicket and the weather tomorrow morning before deciding,” said Saini.

With both sides going all out for a victory, it should be an interesting match up indeed.

The teams (from): Tamil Nadu: R. Prasanna (captain), M. Vijay, A. Mukund, D. Karthik, K.B. Arun Karthik, B. Aparajith, Vijay Shankar, V. Yomahesh, M. Rangarajan, S. Sam, R. Shah, R. Aushik Srinivas, M. Mohammad, K. Gandhi, J. Kaushik.

Haryana: Nitin Saini (captain), Abhimanyu Khod, Rahul Dewan, Sunny Singh, Rahul Dalal, Yatharth Tomar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sandeep Singh, Sandeep Godara, Joginder Sharma, Jayant Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Harshal Patel, Ashish Hooda, Lalit Bhati, Priyank Tehlan, Sanjay Budhwar.

Keywords: Ranji Trophy

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