The Ranji Trophy 2022-23 season is now underway. The 88th edition of India’s senior First Class cricket tournament, which began on December 13, 2022, will run until February 20, 2023.
The tournament was conducted in a scaled-down format in the 2021-22 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the Ranji Trophy has been a competitive tournament over the years, Mumbai have won the title on 41 occasions, maintaining a giant gap with the rest of the pack.
However, the BCCI has introduced a new format, under execution from the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, intending to increase competitiveness and ensure high standards. Let us deep-dive into the new Ranji Trophy 2022-23 format.
Ranji Trophy 2022-23 format
The Ranji Trophy will go through its full course over 10 weeks in the 2022-23 season, unlike the curtailed format last season.
The 2022-23 Ranji Trophy tournament has been split into two categories - Elite and Plate. Earlier the 38 teams would compete for the same trophy. But in the current format, the Ranji Trophy would include two winners, one from the Elite groups and one from the Plate group.
According to the new format, the 32 Elite teams will be divided into four groups of eight. Meanwhile, the only Plate group will consist of six teams.
The move has been made to ensure mismatches in the knockout matches. Last season, Jharkhand amassed a 1008-run lead, the highest in First Class cricket history, against Plate toppers Nagaland. Mumbai, too, beat Uttarakhand by 725 runs in the quarter-final. The new format should reduce the lack of competitiveness in such encounters.
The Plate team will not face any of the Elite teams in the knockouts. Instead, they will play within their category for better competition.
The top two teams from each Elite group will make the quarter-finals. The league phase will include seven matches for each team. In the Plate group, all six teams will play each other once, with the top four making the semi-finals. Unlike the previous format, the Plate teams will play their own in the semis, instead of an Elite team, in the pre-quarters.
The bottom two Plate teams will play for the fifth and sixth spots, while the losing semi-finalists will feature in the third and fourth places.
Meanwhile, the two Plate finalists will be promoted to the Elite group for the 2023-24 Ranji Trophy season. On the other hand, the bottom two teams of the four Elite groups combined will be relegated to the Plate group after considering their points and run quotient.
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