Sunil Joshi, the former India player, has termed Karnataka as favourites to win the Ranji Trophy semifinals. The former all-rounder, who played 15 Tests and 69 ODIs for India, has said that the bowlers will have a big challenge against batting heavy Karnataka,
“I may sound biased but Karnataka will definitely be favourites against Vidarbha. The latter has done well to reach the semifinal. However, they have their task cut out against this all-round Karnataka side. Their bowlers have a big challenge against the likes of Mayank, Samarth, Karun and others. Karnataka bat deep. The likes of Faiz Fazal, Wasim Jaffer need to play big innings if they want to challenge Karnataka,” Joshi told TOI.
Joshi is currently the bowling coach of Bangladesh, who took over the job a few months back.
The Ranji Trophy game will be the second semifinal of the tournament where both the teams will battle it out to make it the finals. It is the first time in the history of Ranji Trophy when Vidarbha have qualified for the Ranji Trophy semifinal, and they will be eyeing to continue their dream run.
On the other hand, Karnataka, who have emerged out as one of strongest sides, would be eager to get their hands on the trophy after a period of two seasons. They had won the tournament on a consecutive basis in 2013/14 and 2014/15.
Last year though, a controversy emerged out when Robin Uthappa was dropped for quarterfinal and he, along with Abhimanyu Mithun was left of state T20 side as well. It saw Robin Uthappa ending his association with Karnataka and joining Saurashtra.
In the second semifinal contest, both the teams are quite unpredictable and the result can land in anyone’s favour. Led by R Vinay Kumar, Karnataka defeated Mumbai in the semifinal on the fourth day by an innings and 20 runs. The skipper led from the front himself with a hat-trick right in the first session of the day. From there, Mumbai could never make a comeback and bowed out of the race.
Vidarbha, on the other hand, also posted a dominant win over Kerala – who qualified for the quarterfinal for the first time – by a margin of 412 runs.
The only factor which can favour Karnataka is the addition of KL Rahul to the side, who has been released to play Ranji Trophy. He is in good form at the moment, and in the company of Mayank Agarwal, he can turn to be the deciding factor.
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