Mumbai could not have asked for a better fixture in the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy as it takes on Haryana, one of the two sides which has qualified from Plate to Super League, at the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium, Lahli, here on Thursday.
With some big names and a few promising cricketers in its rank, Mumbai looks much stronger than its rival.
Haryana, in contrast, has its skipper Amit Mishra and allrounder Joginder Sharma to bank upon. However, the big advantage the underdog enjoys is playing on the home turf.
Despite its calibre in all departments of the game, so far Mumbai has not displayed the consistency of a defending champion. Managing just one win from seven matches and qualifying to the knockout stage as the third team from Pool ‘A’ do not give an invincible picture of the side with an illustrious past.
As Mumbai coach Pravin Amre put it, “It’s been a hard journey for us. We must have bowled a total of 1,500 overs and have earned our place. We can’t afford to take Haryana lightly at all. They are playing at home but then we have the strength to overcome them. The pitch looks good. We’re aiming to play positive cricket and make the most of it.”
Haryana coach Ashwini Kumar put up a brave front and said his team would not be intimidated by its famed opponent. “It does not really matter whether we are playing Mumbai or Kerala or Tripura. We respect them as a reputed side and the defending champion. But we will give our best,” he said.
“Two years ago we defeated the then defending champion Uttar Pradesh on this very ground. So, it is not necessary that a champion team will always win. Our batsmen and bowlers have been doing well,” the Haryana coach put his team’s ability in perspective.
The teams (from):
Haryana: Amit Mishra (capt.), Sunny Singh, Joginder Sharma, Sumeet Sharma, Sachin Rana, Rahul Dewan, Dhruv Singh, Manav Sharma, Sanjay Badhwar, Nitin Saini, Vishal Sahani, Ankit Rawat, Bhupinder Lingwal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Abhishek Bhatti, Lalit Bhatti, Amardeep Sonkar.
Mumbai: Wasim Jaffer (capt.), Ajit Agarkar, Sahil Kukreja, Prashant Naik, Ajinkya Rahane, Sushant Marathe, Rohit Sharma, Ramesh Powar, Avishkar Salvi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Vinayak Samant, Iqbal Abdulla, Onkar Khanvilkar, Praful Waghela, Usman Malvi.