Bengaluru, Oct 22 : Host Karnataka will hold the edge when it takes on Chhattisgarh in the semifinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Wednesday while Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are set for an interesting battle in the other last four clash.
The weather holds the key in both matches as rain is forecast for Wednesday.
Karnataka made short work of Puducherry in the quarterfinal after coming through with seven wins from eight games in the league phase.
Test discard K L Rahul scored a fluent 90 in the win over Puducherry and appeared to have found his touch while the other opener Devdutt Padikkal has been among the runs as has skipper Manish Pandey, who has piled up 505 runs.
The bowlers have done the job with pacer Prasidh Krishna leading the way with 17 wickets while leggie Shreyas Gopal (14 wickets) and fellow leg-spinner Pravin Dube have gone about the job rather well.
Chhattisgarh came through after rain washed out the quarterfinal against the defending champion Mumbai on Monday on the basis of more wins in the league phase. However, it faces a rather daunting task against the all-round Karnataka team, boasting of a strong batting line-up.
Ashutosh Singh, captain Harpreet Singh and Amandeep Khare have been the key batsmen for Chhattisgarh but will be up against a strong Karnataka attack.
In the other semifinal, Tamil Nadu, lucky to come through against Punjab on the basis of having won more games in the league phase, faces Gujarat, a comfortable winner against Delhi.
Having lost to the Dinesh Karthik-led side in the league phase, Gujarat will be aiming for revenge and will be aware of the need to raise their game.
Tamil Nadu’s batsmen after a dominant show in Group C’ struggled against a disciplined Punjab attack on Monday and will need to redeem themselves against Gujarat if they entertain hopes of piling on the runs.
The experienced line-up that includes Murali Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, B Aparajith, Vijay Shankar and the captain Karthik himself can be expected to step up in a crunch game and the Gujarat bowling line-up led by left-arm pacer Rush Kalaria and veteran leggie Piyush Chawla face a stern test on the morrow.
Tamil Nadu will be hoping that the big guns get going and lay the platform for Karthik to finish things off with a flourish.
The TN bowlers-T Natarajan, K Vignesh (14 wkts), Vijay Shankar, R Sai Kishore and leggie M Ashwin(13 wkts)- have done the job for the skipper and would be expected to contain the Gujarat batsmen comprising skipper Parthiv Patel and the prolific Priyank Panchal among others.
Tamil Nadu coach D Vasu hoped that the rain would stay away and permit a full game.
After being in good form through the league phase, the batsmen barring Aparajith, who scored a half-century, couldn’t get going against Punjab but the coach said it wasn’t a below par performance.
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