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All eyes on Priyank Panchal ahead of Gujarat-Odisha quarter-final

 Agencies |  2016-12-23 22:36:10.0  |  Jaipur

He has already amassed more than 1000 runs this season and the focus will be firmly on Priyank Panchal when Gujarat lock horns with Odisha in their Ranji Trophy quarter-final match starting here Friday.

Gujarat will be boosted by the return of Parthiv Patel from national duty against a team that is playing in the knockout stage of the tournament for the first time since 2001.

Called as reinforcement for the injured Wriddhiman Saha, Patel did his bit as the Indian cricket team thrashed England 4-0 in the five-match Test series, and the experienced wicketkeeper-batsman would definitely take a lot of confidence out of that stint.

Gujarat will also look up to 26-year-old Panchal who has scored runs in abundance. Priyank has smashed four centuries, including a triple hundred against Punjab and a double against Mumbai, and another big one could be on the cards, at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.

The pitch has been helping the batsmen of late, but the early morning moisture this time of the year will also offer the pacers some assistance.

Gujarat batsman Manpreet Juneja felt that his team was equipped enough to tackle the conditions.

Gujarat will look to off-spinner Rush Kalaria and left-arm spinner Axar Patel for breakthroughs when the pitch starts to turn. The pace department will be taken care of by Jasprit Bumrah, who is also in India’s limited overs scheme of things, and veteran left-arm seamer RP Singh.

The Odisha team finished third in its group with two wins and five draws, collecting enough points to make the next grade. Odisha sneaked into quarter-finals after Delhi lost a thrilling game to Saurashtra.

Like in the 2001-02 season, the current Odisha team is being driven by all-round contributions, especially from its youngsters. 

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