Uttar Pradesh and Services, having topped Groups ‘B’ and ‘C’ respectively, are set for a fairly even Ranji Trophy last eight contest, beginning here on Sunday.

Uttar Pradesh finished its group engagements unbeaten and will be eager to reprise that form. But its cause won’t be helped by the absence of Suresh Raina and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, both of who are away on international duty.

Captain Mohammad Kaif (616 runs, average: 47.38) will rely on the likes of Mukul Dagar (593, 45.61) and Tanmay Srivastava (419, 34.91) to contribute with the bat. Imtiaz Ahmed (34 wickets, 24.14) has thus far been impressive with his pace and discomfiting bounce. His early strikes would help Kaif breathe a lot easier.

Services’ hopes will hinge heavily on Yashpal Singh (724, 90.50) and Rajat Paliwal (629, 78.62). Seamers Suraj Yadav (32 wickets), Shadab Nazar (25), and Nishan Singh (21) cover the bowling flank.

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