Delhi's quarterfinal match against traditional rivals Railways in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Saturday is likely to decide whether the 2011-12 season edges towards or away from the respectable bracket.
For someone who believes in omens, Delhi's start to the Ranji Trophy campaign spelled doom. The then coach Manoj Prabhakar was sacked two days before the season commenced in early November, after he had been critical of the players and selectors. The domestic powerhouse finished a lowly second-last in their group and the path to resurrection seemed increasingly difficult.
However under Sanjeev Sharma, the team showed signs of regrouping as it reached the semifinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, losing to Mumbai.
Sharma believes that the knockout clash against the Railways is pivotal. According to him the Sanjay Bangar-led team that they knocked out in the Vijay Hazare quarterfinal is a 'strong' outfit.
Pathan’s crucial hand
Karnataka would have heaved a sigh of relief when they picked up Yusuf Pathan's wicket for nine after dropping him on zero.
But in the end, he still managed to hurt the southern giants as the match went into the super over where the batsman smashed Abhimanyu Mithun for 21 runs off just five balls to help Baroda beat Karnataka in the Syed Mushtaq Ali pre-quarterfinal at the Brabourne Stadium.
Brief scores: Karnataka 167/6 (Chipli 60; Karambelkar 3/31) tied with Baroda 167/9 (Waghmode 50, Vahora 45*). Super over: Baroda 22 (Pathan 21*) Karnataka 7. Baroda won by 15 runs.
Assam: 116/9 (Jadhav 48; Mandeep 3/22) lost to Punjab 118/1 in 11 overs (Kanwar 47*, Gurkeerat Singh 62*)