Delhi will be hoping to set-up a blockbuster final meeting with Mumbai when they take on a dangerous Jharkhand in the second semifinal of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Thursday.
While on paper Delhi appear the favourites, the Gautam Gambhir-led side face a real challenge at their hands as Jharkhand, apart from Mumbai, are the only other unbeaten side in the competition after topping Elite Group C with seven wins from nine games (two were abandoned).
The primary reason behind Jharkhand’s impressive show has been the performance of Ishan Kishan, the 20-year-old wicketkeeper batsman leading from the front with 405 runs in eight games. Jharkhand have also been helped immensely by wonderful shows from all-rounder Anukul Roy and batsman Anand Singh.
Anukul, just 19 years old, has not only picked up 14 wickets, he has even scored 213 runs, showing the amount of talent he has. The 31-year-old Anand, on the other hand, has scored 285 runs, including a century and even bagged three wickets with his medium pace bowling. Jharkhand’s standout bowler has been Shahbaz Nadeem, the left-arm orthodox spinner scalping 22 wickets so far.
Delhi, who finished second in Elite Group A & B combined, have been led exceptionally by Gautam Gambhir. The out of favour Indian batsman has hammered 490 runs in eight games so far to stand third in the top run-getters' list. A vastly experienced player, Gambhir has also got Delhi to play as a unit.
Guys like Nitish Rana (323 runs), Dhruv Shorey (286) and Unmukt Chand (223) have responded well that has seen the team lose just one game so far. Bowling-wise, Kulwant Khejroliya (12 wickets), Lalit Yadav (13) and Manan Sharma (10) have shared the responsibilities pretty well.
Delhi have the experience and firepower for Thursday’s game but Jharkhand have the personnel to spring a surprise.