The qualification of last year’s finalists, Gujarat and Mumbai, for the Ranji Trophy knockouts has helped the BCCI correct an embarrassing error in the draw. The earlier arrangement had an error that saw two group toppers (B and D) face each other in the knockout stages, which was later corrected.
The group stage games in the Ranji Trophy concluded on Tuesday, which saw eight teams- Mumbai, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Kerala, Vidarbha, Karnataka, and defending champions Gujarat, qualifying from their respective groups. The quarterfinal fixtures are scheduled to start from December 7 as announced by the board but the teams have found a glaring mistake ahead of the knockout stages, thanks to the qualification of last year's finalists, Mumbai and Gujarat.
As per the booklet circulated by the board concerning the rules of the elimination stages, the Group B topper (B1) was supposed to play the topper of Group D (D1), while the second-placed team in the Group B (B2) was scheduled to face the second-placed team in the Group D (D2) in the quarterfinals. While the error was quite clear because A1 was not playing C1, but C2 and vice versa, none of the sides picked it up until Tuesday when the group stage games ended and the Vidarbha Cricket Association raised the topic with the BCCI headquarters on Tuesday.
Apart from the well-known sports fact, which prevents two group toppers to face each other in the next round, the schedule also came into the light because of the qualification of Mumbai and Gujarat. A clause in the handbook also states that if the last year’s finalists (i.e. Mumbai and Gujarat) made it to the knock-outs (this season), they would have to be placed in separate halves.
“There was an error in the original draw but the handbook also specified that if the last year’s finalists made it to the knock-outs, they would have to be placed in separate halves. While accommodating it, the BCCI has managed to avoid any group toppers facing each other in a quarterfinal match,” a BCCI official told The Hindu.
The BCCI has always followed a convention of defending finalists being given seedings in the knock-out
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