Ranji Trophy scenarios: Mumbai, Maharashtra in virtual knockout as quarter-finals race heats up

Arshdeep Singh, Mayank Markande, Abhishek Sharma, Siddarth Kaul and Baltej Singh pose after the game
January 23, 2023

As the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy season enters the last round of the group stage, the race for the quarter-finals slots in the Elite groups has grown intense. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the knockouts. While Bengal, Saurashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have already sealed their spots, Cricday looks at what the other contenders need to do.

But before that, here is something to keep in mind: if two or more teams are tied on points, the standings will be decided as per the following.

  • The team with more bonus points will be ranked higher.

  • If it's still a tie, the team with more wins will get precedence.

  • The next preference will be given to head-to-head results - only wins count here, and not first-innings lead in case of draws.

  • If the teams still cannot be separated, the one with the higher run quotient will be placed higher

Group A - Uttarakhand and Himachal battle for one spot

Key matches

Haryana vs Uttarakhand, Rohtak; Himachal Pradesh vs Uttar Pradesh, Nadaun

From Group A, Bengal are already in the quarter-finals with 32 points. That leaves Uttarakhand (26) and Himachal Pradesh (20) fighting for the other spot. If Uttarakhand beat Haryana or take a first-innings lead in case of a draw, they will qualify irrespective of what Himachal do against Uttar Pradesh.

Himachal need nothing less than a bonus-point win. But even after that, they will need Uttarakhand to either lose or get just one point from their match.

If Uttarakhand lose, will be stuck on 26 points, and Himachal will qualify with 27. If Uttarakhand get one point, both teams will be tied on 27 points. But Himachal will have two bonus points to Uttarakhand's one and will thus be ranked higher.

However, if Himachal miss out on the bonus point, an Uttarakhand defeat will not help them either. In that situation, both teams will be tied on 26 points, with one bonus point and three wins each. But Uttarakhand will qualify on the basis of the head-to-head record: they beat Himachal by five wickets in late December.

If there is one thing in Himachal's favour, it's that they will be playing at home.

Group B - Mumbai and Maharashtra in virtual pre-quarterfinal

Key matches

Mumbai vs Maharashtra, Brabourne; Andhra vs Assam, Vizianagaram

It may not be immediately evident from the table that Saurashtra have qualified. But even if they lose to Tamil Nadu, their 26 points will be enough to take them into the next round. Andhra can at best tie with them in terms of total points but Saurashtra will pip them on bonus points.

Mumbai and Maharashtra are playing each other, so only one of them can overtake Saurashtra's points tally. There is a scenario where both Mumbai and Maharashtra can end with 26 points each. That will happen if their game ends in a draw with Mumbai taking the first-innings lead. In that case, Maharashtra will be knocked out as they have zero bonus points, whereas Saurashtra and Mumbai have two each.

If Saurashtra lose their last match while Mumbai and Maharashtra tie theirs - the only tie in Ranji Trophy history took place in 1945-46, between Southern Punjab and Baroda - Maharashtra will top the group with 28 points with Saurashtra and Mumbai level on 26 points each. Even in that case, Saurashtra will pip Mumbai, having beaten them in their head-to-head meeting.

Between Mumbai and Maharashtra, whoever wins, or takes the first-innings lead in case of a draw, will qualify.

Andhra, meanwhile, are hanging by the thinnest of threads. To qualify, they need to beat Assam with a bonus point, and then pray that the Mumbai-Maharashtra game ends in a draw with neither team taking a first-innings lead.

Group C - Four teams vie for one spot

Key matches

Jharkhand vs Karnataka, Jamshedpur; Rajasthan vs Services, Jodhpur; Puducherry vs Kerala, Puducherry; Chhattisgarh vs Goa, Raipur

With Karnataka having already qualified, Jharkhand, Kerala, Rajasthan and Goa have been left scurrying for the second quarter-final spot from Group C.

If Jharkhand beat Karnataka in their final group-stage match, they will be through. But if they lose, or get only one point, they will hope neither Rajasthan nor Kerala win their respective games.

If Jharkhand draw with a first-innings lead, both Rajasthan and Kerala can still overtake them with bonus-point wins. Rajasthan can finish above Jharkhand even if they fail to secure the bonus point; it will come down to run quotient then.

For Rajasthan and Kerala to have a chance, though, they must win their respective games. A draw will not help either's cause. If both finish on equal points, Rajasthan will be ranked higher on the basis of bonus points.

For Goa to qualify, they will have to beat Chhattisgarh, and then hope neither Kerala nor Rajasthan win, and that Jharkhand lose. If Jharkhand pick up one point, Goa may want to win with a bonus point, or it will come down to the run quotient.

Group D - Vidarbha need bonus point

Key match

Punjab vs Vidarbha, Mohali

Madhya Pradesh had qualified even before the penultimate round started. It leaves Punjab and Vidarbha as the only teams in contention for the other spot. Coincidentally, they will face each other in their last group match.

Playing at home, Punjab just need to make sure they don't lose by an innings or ten wickets. If Vidarbha are to qualify, they need to win with a bonus point. In that case, both Punjab and Vidarbha will be tied on 26 points, with one bonus point each. But Vidarbha will have four wins to Punjab's three and will therefore go into the quarter-finals.

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