Kerala will lock horns against the defending champions Karnataka in the Vijay Hazare Trophy Quarterfinals at the Palam A stadium in New Delhi, this Monday. Both teams qualified from group C and so this will be the second time both teams will go head to head against each other in this tournament.
Although three teams ended up on 16 points, It was Karnataka who topped the list owing to their superior net run-rate. The defending champions made a slow start to the tournament losing their opening match but has been utterly dominant ever since. Kerala on the contrary had a strong start with their only loss coming against Karnataka.
The winner of this match will book a place in the semis to be held on March 11 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi, to take on the winners of the 1st quarterfinal match which is scheduled to take place between Gujarat and Andhra.
This match will also see the leading run-scorer of the tournament Devdutt Padikall take on Kerala’s highest wicket-taker of the tournament Sreesanth. But Karnataka will hold a mental edge over the Keralites, beating them once already this season.
With Manish Pandey making a full recovery and all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham being released from his duties as an Indian team nets bowler, both have been able to join the Karnataka squad last week before the knockouts began replacing Dega Nischal and Shubhang Hegde respectively in the Karnataka squad. Their return to the side is likely to see Krishnamurthy Siddharth and Aniruddha Joshi being rested.
Kerala’s star batsman and wicket-keeper Sanju Samson had left the camp after his team’s victory over Bihar in the group stages to receive treatment for his knee due to an injury he sustained during the match. He is likely to be replaced by the 21-year old Vathsal Govind.
The wicket at Palam A stadium in Delhi looks to be a competitive pitch with an equal balance between bat and ball offering assistance to both. The square boundaries are very small hence making it easier to score runs of this track. While fast bowlers will get assistance from this pitch initially, the dryness will make sure spinners will get a decent amount of turn.
The weather conditions seem ideal for a cricket match. There are no chances of rain interrupting the contest, with the conditions forecasting a sunny day with the temperature hovering around 32 degrees celsius.
Probable Playing Xl
Karnataka (KAR): Ravikumar Samarth (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Krishnamurthy Siddharth/Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Sharath BR (wk), Abhimanyu Mithun, Aniruddha Joshi/Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Jagadeesha Suchith, Vyshak Vijay Kumar, Prasidh Krishna
Kerala (KER): Robin Uthappa, Vishnu Vinod, Sanju Samson, Sachin Baby (c), Mohammed Azharudden (wk), Jalaj Saxena, MD Nidheesh, S Sreesanth, Akshay Chandran, Salman Nizar, Faisal Fanoos
Players to watch out for
Devdutt Padikkal (Karnataka)
Having an excellent season, The Karnataka opener leads the list of players with the most runs in the Vijay Hazare tournament 2021, scoring 572 from 5 matches holding an average of 190.67. The 20-year-old has shown great consistency in all 5 matches scoring 3 centuries and 2 half-centuries. Scoring a 126* against Kerala in the group stages, He will be again the one to watch out for tomorrow’s intriguing clash.
Ravikumar Samarth (Karnataka)
The third highest leading run-scorer of the tournament, and one-half of Karnataka’s opening batting pair. Karnataka skipper is forging a successful partnership with Devdutt Padikkal to give great starts for Karnataka and providing a solid platform to build on. Scoring 413 runs from 5 matches which includes 2 centuries and 2 half-centuries. Once again his contribution will hold the key for Karnataka to move one step closer to their 5th title.
Robin Uthappa (Kerala)
The Kerala batsman has exhibited exquisite form providing brisk starts for Kerala. Batting at a tremendous strike rate of 135.38, Uthappa has so far scored 375 runs opening the innings for Kerala at an average of 93.75 per game. Kerala will once again look at their star batsmen for runs and will be key to the Kerala innings.
Already beating Kerala in the group stages, The defending champions will be confident of their skill and game plan for progressing to the next round. Also with the added inclusion of more established names, this looks like a real tough game for the Kerala side.
CricWizz predicts Karnataka to win the Quarter-final 2.