South Zone have a chance to avenge their loss to Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy final earlier this month when the two teams line up here tomorrow at the Wankhede Stadium in the quarter final of the five-day Deodhar Trophy limited overs tournament.
Piyush Chawla and Vinay Kumar
South had lost to Central in Delhi's Ferozshah Kotla ground by just nine runs after having taken a handy first innings lead.
South are being led by R Vinay Kumar of Karnataka who was their captain in the Duleep clash while Central too have their winning skipper Piyush Chawla in the saddle.
South have seven players who led Karnataka to the Vijay Hazare Trophy limited overs title recently in Ahmedabad and thus possess a strong batting and effective bowling line-up to severely test their rivals.
The winners of this match would take on defending champions West Zone in the second semi final here on December 1 following the first semi final on November 30 between East and North, who were runners-up to West in March this year.
The final, a day-night clash, is scheduled on December 3. The tournament is being held for the second time in the same calendar year as the selectors wanted to see as many domestic one-day matches as possible before finalising the list of 30 probables for the 2015 World Cup and the tournament was brought forward to the beginning of the new season.
This is an additional incentive for all players to do well and catch the eyes of the selectors before they finalise the World Cup probables list.
The match is being held away from the tragic happening in Australia where cricketer Phillip Hughes died after being struck on the neck by a bouncer in a domestic competition and the two teams are saddened with the loss of life with Kumar stating the news numbed him.
"Yes it is difficult (to digest). When I heard the news even I was kind of numb for two minutes. I didn't know how to react. Most of the cricketers are going through the same thing. Unfortunately, it happened but we need to move on, think about cricket and try to perform," said the Karnataka pace bowler.
"What happened there was very tragic. Although it was an accident all thoughts are with the family. It is a big loss to the family. Personally I am not thinking much about it while going in to bat. It is a big loss to Phil's family and to cricket as well," said leg spinner Chawla.
"They (South) have a pretty good side but not too long ago we had beaten them in the final of the Duleep Trophy. Our chins are high, so looking forward to a good game," he said ahead of the quarter final game.
"Central is a good batting and bowling side. We will just go and try to give our best and perform to the best of our ability," said Vinay.
"We lost to them in the Duleep Trophy final. In a limited overs game it will be anybody's game -- one or two good partnerships. Nowadays we can't take any team lightly," he added.
Both captains said the chance to win a few World Cup places did not affect their players.
"We don't talk about that (World Cup probables selection). All games are important. It is important for everyone to perform in each in every game then only you will get that chance," said Vinay.
"All are set for the tournament and as we all know it is one of the most important trophy in our domestic competition. But there are many games after this as well. There is Ranji trophy," Chawla said.
Rival squads for tomorrow's game (from): South Zone: Vinay Kumar (c), Mayank Agarwal, Amit Yadav, Baba Aparajith, Ashish Reddy, Stuart Binny, Amogh Sunil Desai, Darshan Misal, Abhimanyu Mithun, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Sachin Baby, Sanju Samson, Cheepurapalli Stephen, Robin Uthappa (wk).
Central Zone: Piyush Chawla (c), Akshdeep Nath, Anureet Singh, Ankush Bains, Swapnil Bandiwar, Mukul Dagar, Arjit Gupta, Abhishek Kaushik, Kuldeep Yadav, Ashok Menaria, Ishwar Pandey, Pankaj Singh, Mahesh Rawat (wk), Jalaj Saxena, Jitesh Sharma (wk).