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Defending champions, Karnataka square off against Punjab in the first quarterfinal of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at Ahmedabad. 

Karnataka won 4 of their 5 matches in the league phase while Punjab was unbeaten with 5 victories. They lost to Punjab by 9 wickets in the group stage.

Team News

IPL star Devdutt Padikkal has been giving strong starts for his side. The middle-order is in good health with Aniruddha Joshi and Shreyas Gopal in fantastic form. J Suchith and Praveen Dubey have been their main wicket-takers.

For Punjab, Simran Singh has been the mainstay of the batting line-up scoring 263 runs in 5 matches. Mandeep Singh and Gurkeerat Singh Mann were solid in the last game against Tripura. Siddharth Kaul is picking up wickets at regular intervals and Mayank Markande is controlling the run flow effectively.  

Pitch and Conditions

The newly inaugurated stadium in Motera will host its first-ever competitive match. The pitch will assist the bowlers who bowl a consistent line and length. The track becomes slow as the innings move on causing difficulty for batsmen who love to play freely.

Probable Playing XI

Karnataka: Rohan Kadam, Devdutt Padikkal, Karun Nair, KL Shrijith/Pavan Deshpande, Aniruddha Joshi, Praveen Dubey, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jagadeesha Suchith, Abhimanyu Mithun, V Koushik/Prasidh Krishna.

Punjab: Prabhsimran Singh, Abhishek Sharma, Mandeep Singh, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Anmolpreet Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Harpreet Brar, Mayank Markande, Sandeep Sharma, Arshdeep Singh, Siddharth Kaul.

Key Battles

Devdutt Padikkal (KAR) vs Siddharth Kaul (PUN)

Devdutt Padikkal Siddharth Kaul Karnataka
Devdutt Padikkal (KAR) vs Siddharth Kaul (PUN)

The left-handed Padikkal is a treat to watch when he gets going in full flow. He is a vital cog in the Karnataka team as he can plunder a lot of runs. His class and confidence are close to none in his splendid strokeplay.

When Punjab faced Karnataka last time, Kaul bagged a hat-trick for his side. He has taken 10 wickets in 4 matches in the tournament. He is a specialist at the death overs with his toe-crushing yorkers and the potent knuckle ball. He has become the spearhead of Punjab's pacer-heavy bowling attack.

Jagadeesha Suchith (KAR) vs Prabhsimran Singh (PUN)

Jagadeesha Suchith  Prabhsimran Singh Karnataka
Jagadeesha Suchith (KAR) vs Prabhsimran Singh (PUN)

Simran put Karnataka under the mat with his delightful unbeaten knock of 89 in 52 balls in the group stage. The explosive opener is the cousin brother of Anmolpreet Singh. He has scored a truckload of runs this season.

Suchith took three wickets in the previous match against Uttar Pradesh. He has formed a strong partnership with fellow spinners, Gopal and Krishnappa Gowtham. The left-arm spinner does not give away many runs.

Prediction

Punjab have been the team to watch out for in this tournament having outplayed their opponents so far. Karnataka has peaked at the right time and they will look to win back to back titles.

Cricwizz predicts Punjab to win the match