Pandey, Jaiswal lead list of top performers in Vijay Hazare Trophy

With the league stage and the quarter-finals done, ESPNcricinfo looks at six of the players who have set the field alight in the Vijay Hazare Trophy

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar
Manish Pandey punches down the ground  •  Associated Press

Manish Pandey punches down the ground  •  Associated Press

After league games in four groups, numerous reschedules and four quarter-finals, as the 2019-20 Vijay Hazare Trophy enters the semi-finals' stage, ESPNcricinfo takes a look at six star performers of the tournament who have shone brighter than others so far.
Manish Pandey (Karnataka)
To say that Manish Pandey has been in great form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy won't be enough. Over the nine innings, the lowest score the Karnataka captain has been dismissed for is 48, against Hyderabad. Incidentally, that's the only game his side has lost so far. Currently third on the run-charts, behind Yashasvi Jaiswal and B Aparajith, Pandey has plundered 525 runs at an average of 105 and a strike rate of 108.02. Batting at No. 4, Pandey scored five fifties and one hundred and whenever Karnataka chased - except for the Hyderabad game - Pandey stayed till the end to finish the game.
Dinesh Karthik (Tamil Nadu)
Dinesh Karthik's inspiring leadership oversaw Tamil Nadu's nine-match winning streak in the league stage. Before the knockouts, he told ESPNcricinfo he was targeting the T20 World Cup next year and felt well-suited for the role MS Dhoni played for India for many years. Perhaps Karthik couldn't wait for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India's domestic T20 tournament, to begin and smashed 360 runs at a strike rate of 128.57 while still averaging 72. Scores of 0 and 11 in the last two games may have taken some sheen off those numbers but he has presented his case.
B Aparajith (Tamil Nadu)
If Karthik provided all the flourish and late fireworks, B Aparajith's solid game at No. 3 set the platform for Tamil Nadu. Aparajith has struck 526 runs from ten innings, including one century and five half-centuries. He averages 75.14, even higher than his captain. His strike rate of 80.67 is in keeping with his role as batting mainstay, and the bonus has come in the form of his often-overlooked offspin, picking up ten wickets at an economy rate of 4.46. He saved his best for Railways, where he picked up 4 for 30 to restrict the opposition to 200 for 9 before steering the chase with an unbeaten 111.
Yashasvi Jaiswal (Mumbai)
If there were doubts over Yashasvi Jaiswal converting his talent into performance at the senior level, the Mumbai teenager dispelled them all. Concerns over his big-hitting abilities were put to rest during his 154-ball 203 against Jharkhand that included 17 fours and 12 sixes. A left-hand batsman who has shots all around the park, he is currently the leading run-scorer despite playing only six games, his 564 runs include three hundreds and an unbeaten fifty, which came when Mumbai's chase was cut short by rain in the quarter-final against Chhattisgarh. Jaiswal had waltzed to 60 off 38 balls before rain robbed Mumbai of a place in the semi-final.
Roosh Kalaria (Gujarat)
The highest wicket-taker for Gujarat in the last Ranji Trophy season, Roosh Kalaria has the chance to go one better this year and top the overall wicket-charts in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. A left-arm seamer is always a coveted commodity and in Kalaria, Gujarat not only have a wicket-taker but also someone who doesn't give away too many runs. Often providing his side with breakthroughs with the new ball, Kalaria has 21 wickets at an average of 15.09 and a strike rate of 23.3. Only twice in ten games has he gone for more than five runs an over, and boasts an overall economy of 3.88 in the tournament.
Vishnu Vinod (Kerala)
Despite the likes of Sanju Samson and Robin Uthappa in the batting line-up, it was 25-year-old Vishnu Vinod who emerged as the leading batsman for Kerala. The dashing opener amassed 508 runs at an average of 63.50 and a strike rate of 113.14. His 29 sixes were the most in the tournament, while only Jaiswal matched his tally of three hundreds. Kerala might not have made it to the knockouts, but Vinod stamped his dominance in all their matches.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo