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    Punjab look to take advantage of home conditions in Ranji semis

    Mohali: Punjab would be looking to make the most of home conditions when they take on a formidable Karnataka side in the semifinal of the Ranji Trophy starting here on Saturday.

    Harbhajan Singh-led Punjab were comprehensively beaten by Karnataka in the group stages in Hubli last month and would be keen on returning the favour when the two teams square off in what promises to be an exciting encounter.

    The home team would expect that Yuvraj Singh, who has been a proven match-winner, plays a timely knock as he has not done anything worth noting in the four matches that he has played for Punjab.

    Harbhajan had impressed with the willow scoring 92 against Jammu & Kashmir but the senior offspinner would like to shine with the red cherry adding to his tally of 20 wickets in four games.

    Youngsters Jiwanjot Singh and Mandeep Singh, who hit a match-winning hundred against J&K, have steadied Punjab's batting during the season. The team would be also hoping for sizeable contributions from opener Manan Vohra and allrounder Gurkeerat Singh.

    Punjab bowling attack would be led by pacer Sandeep Sharma who has 35 wickets from seven matches this season, while seamers Manpreet Gony and VRV Singh will be banked upon for their experience.