Karnataka to face Rajasthan in quarters

Karnataka to face Rajasthan in quarters

Karnataka will face Rajasthan in the quarterfinal of the Ranji Trophy here at the Chinnaswamy stadium from Tuesday. 

The eight-time champions finished third on the combined Group A & B table with 27 points. They lost two games, won three and played out three draws. Defending champions Vidarbha finished on top of the table with 29 points. 

From Group C, Rajasthan (51) and Uttar Pradesh (41) made progress to the last eight stage. Uttarkhand booked the quarterfinal berth from the Plate Division. 

Meanwhile, ousted from the group stage after finishing third, Bengal were critical of the revamped qualification format of the Ranji Trophy which saw four teams qualify from Group A while only one qualified from Group B.

The format also drew criticism from Bengal's last group league opponents Punjab while BCCI GM (cricket Operations) Saba Karim defended it.

With an additional group comprising new state teams from North-East, Bihar, Puducherry and Uttarakhand being added, BCCI Cricket Operations team led by GM Saba Karim tweaked the format for this edition.

In previous editions, there would be three teams qualifying from Groups A and B while two teams qualified from Group C.

However this year, five teams were supposed to qualify for quarterfinals from the first two groups combined (A and B) with two from Group C and one from Group D joining them.

Vidarbha (29), Saurashtra (29), Karnataka (27) and Gujarat (26) qualified from Group A while Kerala (26) made it from Group B. Baroda also had 26 points but Kerala had more outright wins (4) than Baroda (3 wins).

Bengal finished with 23 points and were third in Group B. "I've talked to a lot of senior players. I think six teams should qualify from Group A and B. Maybe they can consider from next season. It's a tough pool and just five teams qualifying makes the task all the more difficult. I seriously believe A and B are very tough groups and six teams should qualify," Punjab manager Mandeep Singh said.

Arun Lal, Bengal's manager, alleged that some teams prepared dustbowls despite neutral curators being appointed. "Some teams are making wickets that look like kabaddi 'akharas' and we can’t do that," he said.

Karim defended the format. "If you see, there were multiple group league games that were decided in the last round and it made the competition more intense," Karim said on his part.