Crucial match for Kerala, Himachal

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2011, 21:09 PM IST

Thalassery (Kerala): Eyeing a semi-final berth, Kerala take on Himachal Pradesh in their final Plate division Ranji Trophy match on Tuesday.

Kerala have 13 points while Himachal Pradesh have 12 from four matches each.

Kerala just need to take the first innings lead to qualify for the semi-finals.

The hosts have won against Tripura and Andhra while their matches against Vidarbha and Services ended in tame draws.

Kerala`s former captain and all-rounder Sony Cheruvathur has been the star player for the team this season, excelling with both bat and ball.

Cheruvathur is among the top all-rounders in the Plate division with 264 runs and 24 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls and a brilliant century.

Left-arm spinner P Prashant will also be a vital link in bowling having taken 18 wickets.

Kerala skipper V A Jagadeesh is also in good form and has been consistent with the bat, having tallied 204 runs including three half-centuries.

However, the find of the season for Kerala has been Sachin Baby, as he excelled both in fielding and batting while Akshay Kodoth has been impressive behind the stumps.

Himachal would be banking on former Test players S Sriram, former Test wicket-keeper batsman Ajay Ratra and IPL sensation Paul Valsatti, who had played a brilliant part during the last IPL season for Punjab Kings XI.

PTI