About the Match
Topping the table in Group A, Mumbai will take on Hyderabad which sealed the second knockout qualification position from Group C, in the 1st Quarter-Final match of the Ranji Trophy to be held at Raipur from 23rd December. Hyderabad managed to draw against Andhra after some nervous jitters and will fight hard to keep its hopes alive here; Mumbai on the other hand, knocked out Punjab from the running by drawing the last match, and is in good form to overcome challenges here. The first knock-out match could see lot of action right from day one and both teams will try to dominate with an all-round performance.
Shreyas Iyer’s superb century against Punjab helped them draw the match and take them to the top of the table in Group A; the opener had a lean patch in recent outings but he finished the season on a high and will look forward to bettering it in the upcoming quarter-final. Middle-order batsman Shaikh and all-rounder Shardul Thakur did well against Punjab while others like Abhishek Nayar and Shubham Ranjane add depth to the batting line-up.
Kaustabh Pawar performed well against Bengal, posting 78 but he could try to build a steady partnership here; the team has many all-rounders like Dabholkar, Suryakumar Yadav and Dhawal Kulkarni, who could showcase their skills to help the team pull off a win here.
The bowling unit has the in-form and versatile Suryakumar Yadav, who took 4 wickets against Punjab recently in an economical way, medium pacers Kulkarni, who took a total of 8 wickets against Bengal, Thakur and Deshpande and spinners like Dabholkar and Jay Bista. They have fought hard to climb up the rankings this season and will like to continue with their domination against Hyderabad.
Badrinath leads the team and brings his experience to the side that consists of in-form batsmen like Tanmay Agarwal, who posted two centuries against Jammu & Kashmir to build the foundation for a gigantic win by 286 runs, Anirudh, Akshath Reddy and B Sandeep. Himalay Agarwal, Akash Bhandari and wicket-keeper batsman Sumanth can try to stabilize the innings from the middle-order while Badrinath, who has consistently got the runs flowing with the bat, could lead from the front here.
Left-arm pacer CV Milind, who took a stupendous 5-28 with an economy of less than 2 runs per over against Andhra in the first innings of the last match, can demolish the opposition with support from other fast-bowlers like Ravi Kiran and Mohammad Siraj, and spinner Akash Bhandari.
The team has done well to qualify for the knock-out stage and they will be determined to put their skills to good use in order to trump Mumbai. They have a well-balanced bowling as well as batting squad, which could come out with all its firepower over the coming weekend.
Both teams have experienced players as well as the right combination of batsmen and bowlers, who will put their best foot forward here. Although the contest could go down to the wire, we feel that Mumbai with its seasoned all-rounders are better placed to win the first quarter-final match.