Chennai: With their frontline batsmen and bowlers in good form this season, Tamil Nadu, winners in 1986-87 and twice runners-up thereafter, would be looking to roll over Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal beginning here from Monday.

With Cyclone Thane sparing the city and the sun out in all its winter splendour, a full game is on the cards despite a wet spell being forecast later in the week that if proved right, would leave the two teams at the mercy of chance.

The quarterfinals of this season's Ranji Trophy will get underway from Monday.

Maharashtra, like their opponents, topped their group in the Plate division with three wins in five outings, including an extraordinary innings defeat of Hyderabad who were dismissed for 124 and 54 with left-arm spinner Akshya Darekar claiming 13 wickets.

Darekar, in fact, has been Maharashtra's most successful bowler this season with a haul of 32 wickets in six matches and he will again be the key player given the expected slowness of the Chepauk pitch which is likely to favour more spin than pace.

Tamil Nadu's batting has been their mainstay this season with opener Abhinav Mukund (709) in top form with two centuries, as also Dinesh Karthik (440) and Vasudevadas (237).

Karnataka have edge against Haryana in Ranji quarters

They may be playing without a few key players but six-time champions Karnataka would start as favorites when they play Haryana in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals in Bangalore.

The hosts lost key fast bowlers R Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun to national duty in Australia and Sreenath Aravind to injury but they have showed that they still have sufficient resources to bowl teams out in the league phase of the championship.

N C Aiyappa, returning to first class cricket after a two-year hiatus, and S L Akshay have put up their hands whenever their side has found itself in a tricky situation.

The batting too has stood the test of time, despite losing the talented Manish Pandey to a hernia operation. Stuart Binny has been in rollicking form, aggregating 686 runs this season. Opener K B Pawan, Amit Verma and skipper Ganesh Satish too have been in good nick.

The Amit Mishra-led Haryana cannot be taken lightly as it had accounted for itself well to qualify from Group B. The wicket, which has a dash of grass, will help the seamers. It will be attest of nerves for the batsmen on this sporting deck.s

(Agencies)