Wasim Jaffer has once again shown tremendous form for Vidarbha in the 2018/19 Ranji Trophy season. (Image credit: Twitter)
The Ranji Trophy 2018/19 league stages came to a close on January 10 and the eight teams have finally qualified for the quarterfinals. From Elite Group A and B, the five teams who have qualified are defending champions Vidarbha, Saurashtra, eight-time champions Karnataka, Kerala and 2016/17 champions Gujarat. From Elite Group C, two-time champions Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have qualified for the next stage while from the Plate Division, Uttarakhand have qualified for the knock-outs after beating Mizoram by an innings and 56 runs in Dehradun. Kerala qualified in dramatic circumstances after they chased down 299 in three sessions to enter the last eight.
The quarterfinal line-ups have been announced with defending champions Vidarbha, who remained undefeated in the league stage taking on Plate Division toppers Uttarakhand at the VCA stadium in Jamtha, Nagpur. A tricky encounter awaits Karnataka, who lost their last league game to Baroda by two wickets as they take on Rajasthan, who topped Group C. However, Karnataka will be boosted by home comfort as the match takes place at the M Chinnaswamy stadium. Saurashtra, who lost the 2012 final to Mumbai, will take on Uttar Pradesh while the quarterfinal line-up is completed with Kerala taking on Gujarat in Wayanad, Kerala.
All the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals will be held on January 15 and will end on 19. The semi-finals will be held on January 24 and the domestic first-class season will conclude with the final on February 3. The venues for the semi-final and the final have not yet been announced.
In the last edition of the Ranji Trophy, Vidarbha scripted history as they won the Ranji Trophy for the first time by defeating Delhi by nine wickets. Wasim Jaffer, one of the most prolific batsmen in the history of the Ranji Trophy, was one of the key factors in their charge to the title and currently, his magnificent form continues. Vidarbha will be aiming to defend their title successfully in this season of the Ranji Trophy. On the other hand, the other strong contender seems to be Karnataka, who had won the Ranji Trophy in the 2013/14 season and in the 2014/15 season. In fact, Karnataka won the treble in 2013/14, which included the Irani Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy in addition to the Ranji Trophy title.