The battle lines have been drawn as the Ranji Trophy enters the knock-out phase with the quarterfinals scheduled to be played from January 8 to 12.
Mumbai will take on Maharashtra in the STAR Sports Ranji Trophy quarterfinals at the Wankhede Stadium from January 8 to 12. The other quarterfinals are between Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, Bengal and Railways at Eden Gardens, Kolkata and Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir at the Motibaug Palace Ground, Baroda.
The BCCI has deputed its Ground and Pitch committee members Daljit Singh (Mumbai), P.R. Vishwanathan (Bangalore), Ashish Bhowmick (Kolkata) and Dhiraj Parsana (Baroda) to supervise the preparation of the pitch and outfield at the four venues.
The elimination of last year’s finalist Saurashtra and semifinalist Services has in a way contributed to an interesting quarterfinal clash between Railways and Bengal.
The two teams were involved in an acrimonious league match at the Jamia Milla, New Delhi, in the first week of December after Railways captain and left-arm spinner Kartik Murali ran out Bengal batsman Sandipan Das when the latter was backing up too far.
Draw of lots
“We drew lots after the defending champion Mumbai was given the top billing, Punjab (last year’s semifinalist) the No. 2 position and Karnataka (maximum points in the league) the No. 5 position,” said Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, General Manager, Game Development, BCCI.
Punjab became the No. 2 seed because Saurashtra and Services failed to qualify for the knock-out stage.
The winners of the two quarterfinal matches — Mumbai vs. Maharashtra and Bengal vs. Railways — will play their semifinal at Holkar Stadium, Indore and the winners of the other two quarterfinal games — Karnataka vs. Uttar Pradesh and Punjab vs. Jammu & Kashmir — will play the second semifinal at Mohali, both from Jan. 18 to 22.
The final will be played at Hyderabad from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2.
Under the umpire exchange programme between the BCCI and Cricket South Africa, umpire Dennis Smith has been nominated as one of the on-field umpire for the quarterfinals in Mumbai and semifinals at Indore.