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January 5, 2012
Mumbai take on Tamil Nadu at the Wankhede Stadium, and Haryana play defending champions Rajasthan in Rohtak, in the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy. Each of the four teams have reached the semis at least once in the history of this competition. Haryana won the Ranji Trophy in 1990-91, beating Bombay by 2 runs in the final, and are qualifying for the semis for the first time since then.
Haryana were surprise entrants into the knockout round and, in a shock result, beat Karnataka outright to book their place in the final four. They'll be playing the semis at home in Rohtak, where early morning fog has been an irritant for teams. Sunny Singh is their highest run-getter this season with 592 runs in six games at an average of 53.81, and captain Amit Mishra their highest wicket-taker, with 21 wickets in six matches at 24.90.
Their opponents Rajasthan have among them the highest run-scorer this competition, Robin Bist, with 841 runs at a staggering average of 105.12. Out of the teams that have made it to the final four, seamer Pankaj Singh is the highest wicket-taker, with 26 in eight games at 27.03, along with Mumbai's offspinner Ramesh Powar.
Two other players who've been among the runs this season will face off at the Wankhede Stadium. Tamil Nadu are a batting-heavy side and have six draws from seven games this season. Abhinav Mukund has been prolific for them with 825 runs in seven games at 103.12.
Tamil Nadu's opponents Mumbai are without several of their high-profile stars: Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane are in Australia, Ajit Agarkar won't be taking part in his team's campaign after a fall-out with the captain and coach, and Abhishek Nayar was ruled out of the quarter-final due to injury. Twenty-one year old Suryakumar Yadav has shone for them this season, and is fourth in the run-charts. Two other youngsters, Kaustubh Pawar and Ankeet Chavan have also stepped up at the right time.
For the Mumbai-Tamil Nadu semi-final, England's Peter Hartley will officiate as one of the umpires as part of an umpire exchange program between the BCCI and the ECB.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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