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Ranji Trophy 2017-18: Quarter-final scenarios

Ahead of the final round, here we look at all the possible scenarios for the quarter-finals.

Siddesh Lad
Siddesh Lad of Mumbai. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Ranji Trophy 2017-18 has witnessed an increase in result-bearing games as a total of 40 matches produced results out of the 72 played till the end of the 6th round. Compared to the last season where the neutral venue concept was implemented, there is a growth of nearly 20% in terms of results this year in the league stage.

The teams fighting for a quarter-final spot also pushed the bar as each group included only seven teams compared to 9-10 in the previous edition. The 7th and final round of the league stage of the tournament starts on 25th November while only three teams have sealed their quarter-final berth.

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Ahead of the final round, here we look at all the possible scenarios for the quarter-finals:

Group A:

Karnataka (26 points) and Delhi (24 points) sealed their berths from Group A as Hyderabad (15 points), despite a bonus point win over Delhi, will end up two points short.

Group B:

The Group B top rack is packed up with Gujarat (27 points), Kerala (24 points) and Saurashtra (23 points). If the equation comes down to equal points, Kerala will have an upper hand with four wins and a better NRR. Gujarat, who also have four wins, have the lowest NRR while Saurashtra has a slightly better NRR than that of Gujarat but only three outright wins.

With none of these teams clashing against any other side, the future of Group B’s top two is tough to predict. If all the teams manage outright wins, Gujarat and Kerala will be through. At this stage, they should be aiming to gain at least three points to be on the safe side. Anything less than that could lead to their elimination despite the dominance till round six.

Group C:

This is the most interesting of the four groups as Andhra (19 points), Madhya Pradesh (15 points), Mumbai (14 points), Tamil Nadu (11 points) and Baroda (10 points) fight for the two spots. Andhra have finished their six games while the remaining four teams will be featuring in the last round.

Andhra:

Andhra’s quarter-final hopes will depend on the result of Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh’s matches. If one of these two sides fail to register an outright win, Andhra will be safe and go through to the final eight.

Madhya Pradesh:

An outright win for MP in their last league game against Odisha will see them through to the quarters. If they manage to take the first-innings lead, they need to hope Mumbai don’t win outright. MP will still make it to QFs if they take only one point or even lose to Odisha in the case of Tamil Nadu or Baroda (win with a bonus point) do not manage an outright win and Mumbai lose or conceding the first-innings lead to Tripura.

Mumbai:

In their final league match against Tripura, Mumbai at least need to take a first-innings lead. An outright win will see them through to the quarters if MP settles with a draw. If Mumbai can acquire three points over Tripura, they will have to hope that MP lose or takes one point in their final league game and Tamil Nadu or Baroda (bonus point) do not win outright as their wins could challenge Mumbai’s NRR.

Tamil Nadu:

The last year’s semi-finalists will need an outright win at any cost to stay in contention. They will also hope that MP don’t bag more than one point against Odisha and Mumbai don’t beat Tripura outright. It would be better for TN if they manage a bonus point win over Baroda so that their NRR doesn’t clash with that of Mumbai (if Mumbai takes 1st innings lead).

Baroda:

Baroda will need a lot of fortune and success in their last league game. Their highest NRR is the only positive factor despite having the fewest points among the five sides. If not for an outright win against Tamil Nadu, Baroda will be out of quarter-final contention.

If they take six points against Tamil Nadu, they will require MP to lose versus Odisha and Mumbai to not bag more than one point against Tripura.

In case Baroda defeat Tamil Nadu by an innings or 10 wickets, they would be hoping MP doesn’t earn more than one point and Mumbai doesn’t secure an outright win in the last league game. If Mumbai takes three points in their last game, they will be equal on points with Baroda, who currently possess a better NRR.

Bengal
Bengal. (Photo Source: Sportstar)

Group D:

Vidarbha (28 points) are one of the three teams to have sealed their quarter-final berth before the 7th round. Bengal (20 points), Punjab (15 points) and Himachal Pradesh (13 points) have a chance to end on the 2nd spot from Group D.

Bengal:

A minimum of three points from their last game will ensure Bengal make it to the final eight as the 2nd team from their group. Even if they lose or take only one point in the last match, Bengal can go through if Punjab doesn’t win outright and Himachal doesn’t win with a bonus point (Only if Bengal loses).

Punjab:

All Punjab need is to win outright in their last game against Services and hope that Bengal don’t take more than one point over Goa.

Himachal Pradesh:

Himachal will need some sort of a miracle in their final league game for making it to the final eight. They have to defeat Vidarbha by an innings or ten wickets, a team that has won four out of the five matches so far. They will also want Punjab to draw or lose their final game against Services and for Goa to defeat Bengal. In this came, Himachal’s strong NRR could help them edge past Bengal.

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