MS Dhoni's (left) Jharkhand take on Manoj Tiwary's Bengal in Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-final © IANS
MS Dhoni’s (left) Jharkhand take on Manoj Tiwary’s Bengal in Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-final © IANS

The Vijay Hazare Trophy will see the most awaited semi-final on Friday at Palam A Stadium as MS Dhoni-led Jharkhand will lock horns with Bengal. Aamir Gani’s last-minute heroics eased Bengal to the semi-final while Dhoni’s six finished it for Jharkhand in the quarter-final. After triumphing against Maharashtra, Bengal ended at the top of the table in Group C while Jharkhand remained behind Karnataka despite qualifying for the semi-final. With both sides making few changes to their side for the quarter-final, Dhoni might make some changes to keep the best foot ahead. Sourav Ganguly devises plans against MS Dhoni ahead of Vijay Hazre Trophy semi-final

Meanwhile, Bengal might not want to tinker with their squad. Here are the XIs that both teams might go ahead with for the semi-final:

Top order: Bengal brought a slight change to their top order that worked in their favour. Where Sreevats Goswami and Abhimanyu Easwaran always open the innings, debutant Agniv Pan joined the opening batsmen at No. 3. He started his List A career with a 61-ball 47 that included 6 fours and a six against Maharashtra, pushing Sudip Chatterjee down the order. Goswami and Easwaran will be expected to provide blistering starts as seen through the tournament. MS Dhoni signs autograph while batting during Vijay Hazare Trophy quarter-final

With poor run performance of Anand Singh and Virat Singh in the group stages, Jharkhand’s experimentation with their top order finally found success. Pratyush Singh was off the mark scoring 33 on his debut. Ishan Kishan is yet to go big in the tournament and would be expected to go all guns blazing, especially opening the innings for Jharkhand. However, Kumar Deobrat can stabilise the top order after guiding Jharkhand to quarter-final being the top-scorer (78) of his side.

Middle order: Bengal’s middle-order is further bolstered by the inclusion of Chatterjee amidst the batsmen like Manoj Tiwary, Anustup Majumdar and Kanisk Seth. While Chatterjee and Manoj have secured centuries each in the tournament, Majumdar has complimented his captain in every game with his consistency. Seth has not had a good run in the tournament, garnering 42 runs at 10.50. He will want to make this opportunity count especially playing against Dhoni at the other end. However, he has been having a great run with the ball and will want to balance out both the roles well in this crucial game. Dhoni-led Jharkhand crush Vidarbha by 6 wickets in 3rd quarter-final

This is where the quick fire runs flow from. This Jharkhand middle order might see a change from the previous game where inexperienced Monu Kumar might be rested and they may bring back the experienced Kaushal Singh back into the picture. Although Saurabh Tiwary and Ishank Jaggi have been in stupendous form, it is rest assured that the finishing touch will be provided by Dhoni, as always.

Bowlers: Bengal’s prowess also lies in their bowling unit. Spinner Pragyan Ojha leads with maximum wickets (10) followed by pacer Sayan Ghosh with 9 wickets. With Mohammed Shami travelling with the Indian team, the onus lies on Aamir Gani and Ashoke Dinda to push themselves to stay in the race along with Ojha and Ghosh. Seth has also been impressive and Manoj with his leg-spin can be a helping hand as well.

Jharkhand’s top bowler has been Shahbaz Nadeem claiming 15 wickets so far. Varun Aaron and Rahul Shukla have claimed 8 and 9 wickets respectively. Vikash Singh may get the nod which means it is unlikely that Anand will find a place.

Likely XI for Bengal: Sreevats Goswami, Agniv Pan, Manoj Tiwary (c), Sudip Chatterjee, Anustup Majumdar, Kanisk Seth, Pragyan Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Aamir Gani and Ashoke Dinda.

Likely XI for Jharkhand: Pratyush Singh, Ishan Kishan, Kumar Deobrat, Saurabh Tiwary, MS Dhoni (c), MS Dhoni (c), Kaushal Singh, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Shukla, Varun Aaron and Vikash Singh.