Mushtaq Ali Trophy: The final fight for semis

Tamil Nadu captain Dinesh Karthik will be looking to lead from the front when his side takes on Jharkhand in the crucial final Super League clash in Surat on Wednesday. PTI

With three semifinal spots still up for grabs, the final day of the Super League stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is expected to produce exciting cricket with none of the four games being a dead-rubber in Surat on Wednesday. 

In Group A, Haryana, who have 12 points from three games, is the only team that has booked a last-four berth. They play Maharashtra in their final Super League game and irrespective of the result, Amit Mishra’s side are through. 

Karnataka, the defending champions, have completed their Super League assignments in Group B and are on top of the five-team table with 12 points from four games.

On Wednesday, Manish Pandey’s side will be watching the Group B action keenly as Tamil Nadu (8 points) play Jharkhand while Mumbai (8 points) take on Punjab.  

With just one loss -- their seven-wicket drubbing at the hands of Mumbai -- Karnataka have done well to put one foot in the semifinal. In case Tamil Nadu and Mumbai win their respective matches, then they will be tied on 12 points with Karnataka. In such a three-way tie, net run rate will determine the two teams that will progress. 

For now, Karnataka have the best run-rate with 0.762 while Tamil Nadu are second-best with 0.413. Mumbai are third with -0.589. It’s a must-win scenario for both Tamil Nadu and Mumbai and for the latter, just a victory will not suffice. Shreyas Iyer’s men will have to win by a massive margin to bolster their net run rate.

If one of the two -- Tamil Nadu and Mumbai -- lose, Karnataka’s entry to the semifinal will be confirmed with net run rate not coming in the picture. Even in a worst-case scenario, Pandey’s men will progress as the second-best team from Group B. In the group, Punjab and Jharkhand have been eliminated. 

Group A could also witness three teams tied on eight points. If Maharashtra beat Haryana they will have eight points like Baroda, who are lying second after the end of their Super League campaign.

The winner of the other match of the day between Rajasthan and Delhi will also finish with the same number of points. In such a situation, net-run rate will decide the fate of the teams.

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