Vidarbha, MP Clash in Ranji Trophy Semifinal with Pandit Subplot

Vidarbha, MP Clash in Ranji Trophy Semifinal with Pandit Subplot

Vidarbha and Madhya Pradesh, two formidable teams in Indian domestic cricket, will clash in the first semifinal of the Ranji Trophy at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur on Saturday. Vidarbha, riding high on their quarterfinal victory over Karnataka, will aim to deny MP a second final appearance in three years.

MP, under the guidance of former Vidarbha coach Chandrakant Pandit, scraped a narrow four-run win against Andhra to reach the semifinals. Pandit's presence adds an intriguing subplot to the contest, as he led Vidarbha to back-to-back Ranji Trophy titles in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

MP's batting has been led by Himanshu Mantri and Yash Dubey, who have both scored over 500 runs this season. However, their middle-order has been inconsistent, with Venkatesh Iyer often bailing them out of trouble. Iyer, a left-handed all-rounder, has scored 528 runs at a strike rate of 82.28.

Vidarbha, on the other hand, will rely on Atharva Taide, who scored a century against Karnataka in the quarterfinals. Imports Dhruv Shorey and Karun Nair will also be key contributors to their batting. Captain Akshay Wadkar has also been in good form, scoring six half-centuries.

In the bowling department, MP will look to Kumar Kartikeya, their leading wicket-taker with 38 scalps. Avesh Khan and Kulwant Khejroliya will provide support with their pace bowling. Vidarbha's bowling attack is led by Aditya Sarwate, who has taken 37 wickets this season.

The match promises to be a close contest between two evenly matched teams. Vidarbha will be looking to reach their first Ranji Trophy final since 2018, while MP will be aiming to repeat their title triumph of 2022.

Tags: #RanjiTrophy, #Vidarbha, #MadhyaPradesh, #ChandrakantPandit, #AtharvaTaide

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