AGARTALA: Bengal, Baroda, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have displayed better talent and perfect application than six other teams to deserve a place in the semifinals of the all-India Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Tamil Nadu, which won all its zonal matches with bonus point, will clash with Uttar Pradesh, a team considered to be the dark horse of the tournament in one semifianls.
With India players Mohammad Kaif, R.P. Singh and Piyush Chawla set to play on Friday, U.P. will be a formidable opponent to TN.
The young TN side, captained by R. Ashwin, showed exemplary courage and extraordinary skill in ousting Mumbai in the quarterfinals.
Kaif is quite confident of his team doing well especially on the TIT ground pitch that looks full of runs. “We have a balanced side and I expect a good match,” he said.
Kaif may be worried about his own form but the two Shuklas, Ravikant and Shivakant, along with under-19 WorldCupper Tanmay Srivastava have been the team’s pillar of strength this season.
Assisting slow bowlers
Last year’s runner-up Bengal will be up against a solid Baroda side at the MBB Stadium pitch known to assist slow bowlers. But for Manoj Tiwary’s unbeaten 96, Bengal would not have gone past Delhi in the quarterfinals.
“Manoj is in great nick. I expect other top order batsmen to rise to the occasion,” said Bengal skipper L.R. Shukla.
Baroda, fresh from its victory over Hyderabad in the quarterfinals, is likely to make one change bringing in off-spinner Kamran Shaikh in place of a medium-pacer.Corrections and Clarifications
The Second paragraph of a cricket report "TN geared up to meet U.P.'s challenge"("Sport", March 6, 2009) - on the all-India Vijay Hazare Trophy - said thatTamil Nadu won all its zonal matches with bonus points. Tamil Nadu finishedfirst with 24 points (from five matches), losing out on the bonus point inthe match against Goa.