The Holkar stadium in Indore will host the final of the Ranji Trophy 2017/18, BCCI confirmed on Monday. It will be the second time in two years when the stadium will host the final of the first-class tournament. The final will be played from December 29 to January 2.
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The final of 2016/17 tournament was also played in this stadium where Gujarat lifted the trophy for the first time by defeating the 41-time champions Mumbai. Incidentally, both the teams are now not in the race to win the trophy. Both had qualified for the quarterfinals of the tournament. Mumbai lost to Karnataka whereas Gujarat lost to Bengal in the knockout game.
Reports had suggested that the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai would host a semi-final and the final as well, but this was not the case.
The four teams who are in contention to lift the trophy are Karnataka, Delhi, Bengal and Vidarbha. Only two teams will qualify for the final where the ultimate winner will be decided.
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In the semifinal, Karnataka will face Vidarbha at Eden Gardens. In the second game, Rishab Pant led Delhi will face Bengal in Pune. The international stars – who are not a part of limited overs squad – will miss the action as BCCI will not release any player for the quarterfinal contest. Karnataka have already named their squad as well, which doesn’t include KL Rahul and Manish Pandey as they are a part of India squad for the T20I series against Sri Lanka.
On the other hand, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has decided not to ask BCCI for the release of the players for the knockout game.
This means that there will be no Wriddhiamn Saha and Mohammed Shami for Bengal. Vidarbha will miss Umesh Yadav while Delhi will be without Ishant Sharma.
Looking at the form of all the teams in the tournament, the R Vinay Kumar is favourite to win the trophy. However, other teams have also come out as a dark horse and the race to the next round will probably be one of the best things to watch in the ongoing season.
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