Ranji Trophy Semifinal: Bengal to Meet Defending Champion MP
Ranji Trophy Semifinal: Bengal to Meet Defending Champion MP

INDORE: The Ranji Trophy semifinals get underway on Wednesday with matches between Bengal and Madhya Pradesh in Indore and Karnataka and Saurashtra in Bangalore. Performances throughout the knockout stages carry considerable significance, particularly for players hoping to break into the national team.

Karnataka vs Saurashtra is more evenly matched on paper, but the hosts will get the ball rolling as favourites because they have a full roster at their disposal. It will be difficult for Saurashtra to defeat Karnataka on their own field even if they have an all-around team without the services of their inspiring skipper Jaydev Unadkat.

The defending champions MP proved why they are still the team to beat when they faced Andhra in the quarterfinals. Bengal will therefore be aware of the difficulty that awaits them. Bengal has advanced to the playoffs for the third time in a row, but defeating MP at home won't be simple. Bengal must play their hearts out if they want another chance at winning the Ranji Trophy.

On Wednesday, the Ranji Trophy semifinals get off with Bengal hosting Madhya Pradesh in Indore and Karnataka hosting Saurashtra in Bangalore.

Devdutt Padikkal has played only four games thus far due to injury, and has fallen down the pecking order. Padikkal will once more bat at No. 3 with the in-form R Samarth and Mayank Agarwal continuing to bat at the top. Despite being a little out of place, the possibility gives Padikkal a chance to return on the national radar and at the very least have a shot at the upcoming A tours.

Rajat Patidar, a middle-order batsman, has been in and out of the lineup. Patidar just missed being selected for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but with the squads for the final two Tests still to be announced, he still has a chance to be considered. Despite having 513 runs now, he has only scored a century once in six games. A huge hundred in the semifinals and perhaps at the championship would keep him in the picture in case there is a middle-order opening.

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