Saurashtra, who have already qualified for the knock-outs, will aim to finish the league stage with a victory when they will face Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy in Rajkot.
Saurashtra collected three points from their drawn game against Mumbai and are sitting in the second place in the combined Group standings with 28 points. A win will boost their more before playing the quarter-final.
Tamil Nadu, who are 19 points, are in contention mathematically. They will need to beat Saurashtra with a bonus point and then hope that Karnataka, UP and Punjab lose their respective games.
If TN don’t win with a bonus point, they can still qualify if Karnataka, Punjab and UP lose their matches, as then the quotient will come into picture. TN right now have a higher quotient.
Bowling has not been an issue for Saurashtra as their spinners led by Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and pacers led by Jaydev Unadkat have done a decent job. Jadeja has so far taken 20 wickets. But he needs support from others and so does Unadkat.
It is their batting which needs to come good, especially the top-order. The hosts are too dependent on Arpit Vasavada or Sheldon Jackson and the likes of Harvik Desai, Snell Patel need to score big. Tamil Nadu have a tough task at hand considering that the track at SCA Stadium could aide spinners from the third day.
Meanwhile, multiple-time champions Mumbai, who have been knocked-out of the Ranji trophy, will play for pride against Madhya Pradesh. The Vinayak Samant-coached team would like to end, what has been a disappointing season on a winning note.
Mumbai have added all-rounder Aakrshit Gomel to the 15-member squad for the game against MP. In other elite B games, Karnataka take on Baroda at Bengaluru, with the hosts having a chance to make the knockouts. Baroda are already out.
And at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh take on Himachal Pradesh. While Himachal are out of the reckoning, a win could give UP a chance to qualify, but they will also have to see the results of other games.
Delhi need miracle to qualify
All but out of the quarter-final race, Delhi will need several results to go their way and a big win over Rajasthan in their final Ranji Trophy group match in New Delhi on Wednesday to remain in the hunt for a knockout berth.
With just 18 points from seven games, Delhi are currently languishing at the 10th spot in the 18-team Group A and B cross pool and are virtually out of the reckoning, but a bonus point win over Rajasthan and some favourable results can still keep them in the fray. However, Delhi’s hopes depend on permutations and combinations and it would be stunning if they make it to the next round.
They have the same points as Vidarbha, but Delhi’s situation has been made worse by a low run rate. They need to beat Rajasthan with a bonus point and then hope Karnataka and Punjab lose their games, while Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu at the most, draw their encounter.
But if Vidarbha win their next tie against Hyderabad, a bonus point will not be enough for Delhi. Even after all this, Delhi will have to ensure they end with a higher run rate than Karnataka. In all probability, this looks like a dead rubber for Delhi.
Mired in selection controversies, Delhi had a disastrous Ranji campaign this year, winning just two while losing one and drawing four games out of their seven matches. Rajasthan, on the other hand, are out of the reckoning, having garnered just 16 points from seven games. Rajasthan have been no better than Delhi and have registered two wins, four loses and one draw in their seven matches.
Gujarat, meanwhile, are leading the combined Group A and B chart with 29 points from seven games, ahead of Saurashtra (28 points off 7 matches) and Andhra (27 points from 7 games).