Lucknow: All eyes will be on Cheteshwar Pujara, hero of India’s maiden Test series triumph in Australia, when an upbeat Saurashtra face Uttar Pradesh in a Ranji Trophy quarter-final beginning here on Tuesday. Pujara confirming his availability for the crucial tie is a big shot in the arm for Saurashtra, who were undefeated in Group A alongside Vidarbha with three wins and five draws.
Saurashtra go into the must-win game high on confidence, having taken the first innings lead against defending champions Vidarbha with lead pacer and captain Jaydev Unadkat taking six wickets for 56 runs. Apart from Pujara, a lot will be expected from Sheldon Jackson who has been the team’s leading run-scorer this season with 613 runs at 47.15. Harvik Desai has also been amongst runs, scoring 538 at 35.86.
Uttar Pradesh, on the other hand, have the advantage of playing at home. They will be relying on Rinku Singh (803 runs), Priyam Garg (740) and Akshdeep Nath (709) to put the runs on the board and hope senior player Suresh Raina rises to the occasion. Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Dhapola and Ankit Rajpoot have been their go-to bowlers so far. Left-arm spinner has taken 50 wickets at 15.54.
Kerala vs Gujarat
Both Kerala and Gujarat have so far had a slightly inconsistent run though the latter are certainly favourites going into the quarter finals. They play their quarter-final clash at Krishnagiri Stadium, Wayanad.