Ranji Trophy finalists Uttar Pradesh will aim to assert their supremacy in limited-over cricket also when they take on Himachal in the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarter-final on Monday.
Having secured the top position in the central zone leg of the one-day championship,the star-studded UP outfit has set sights on the title. However,Himachal,who have had a dream run this season,finishing second behind Delhi in north zone,are no pushovers.
We lost the Ranji Trophy final (to Mumbai),and the loss hurt us a bit. Here,we are trying to prove the point that we can finish off the season on a winning note, UP skipper Mohammad Kaif said after the nets at the MBB Stadium. The Ranji final saw UP coming into the one-day competition with a renewed hunger and they went on to collect 15 points from 4 matches.
With all their key players in form,UP are serious title contenders alongside Mumbai and Delhi. Their batsman have been among the runs,while the bowling has been outstanding RP Singh,Imtiyaz Ahmed,Piyush Chawla have performed well throughout the season.
But Himachal coach Rajdeep Kalsi reminded that his side are proven giant-killers and shouldnt be taken lightly. We have beaten a team like Delhi (in the zonal leg). It means we have the wherewithal as well as the self-belief to pull more such wins against bigger teams, the HP coach said.
The MBB wicket,which was in the centre of a controversy surrounding the washed out Tamil Nadu-Orissa pre-quarterfinal match on Saturday,is expected to be on the slower side as the day progresses,forcing Kaif to rely on spin options.
In another quarter-final clash,a depleted Baroda outfit will be tested by a confident Hyderabad at the far-off PTI Ground.