Cricket

Will it be Mumbai or Bengal?

SHREWD SKIPPER: Sourav Ganguly will be eager to lead from the front in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final against Mumbai on Monday.

SHREWD SKIPPER: Sourav Ganguly will be eager to lead from the front in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final against Mumbai on Monday.  

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The Bengal-Mumbai final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy promises an interesting battle of wits between the two captains — Sourav Ganguly and Ajit Agarkar — at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Monday.

Agarkar has led Mumbai with assurance while Ganguly's presence has motivated Bengal to raise its game. Agarkar is seen as a bowlers' captain while Ganguly revels in setting an example with his bat. The duel between these two skippers is expected to light up the summit clash.

Mumbai registered convincing victories against Karnataka and Delhi, both at the Ferozeshah Kotla, while Bengal has managed to quell the challenge from Madhya Pradesh and Punjab in close contests, both at the Palam ground.

Bengal has looked the most compact combination in the tournament with Ganguly's imposing stature clearly inspiring the rest to give their best.

“I have enjoyed my part in the team. It is a young side and the boys have done very well,” admitted the Bengal skipper, who was keen to make a contribution on the decisive day.

Big challenge

“Sourav's experience will obviously help Bengal. They all look up to him and he knows how to tackle the big games. It will be a challenge for us no doubt because Bengal has always done well in this format. We'll have to play well to beat Bengal,” said Agarkar.

Bengal will miss the likes of Ashoke Dinda and Manoj Tiwary while Mumbai will miss Rohit Sharma, all three away on National duty in Bangladesh.

When asked about this, Ganguly smiled. “You can't help it. That way Mumbai will be without Sachin Tendulkar,” he said.

Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni credited Agarkar for Mumbai's fluent progress. “He has led brilliantly. His captaincy has had a leading role in the team playing to its potential. He has made the right bowling changes and field placements.”

Agarkar assessed his team aptly. “We have played some exceptional cricket. The openers (Ajinkya Rahane and Wasim Jaffer) have delivered. We have come this far by beating two good teams and we know the final will be a different game.”

As Kulkarni observed, “We are a balanced side. Having Jaffer in such good form has proved a big asset. His stature helps the others grow too. He has batted splendidly.”

Jaffer, in fact, has looked the most delightful to watch with his innovative and graceful style. “I don't know why he is not in the Indian team,” said Ganguly about Jaffer.

All eyes on Saha

Bengal has benefited immensely from Wriddhiman Saha's confidence. Known as a silent worker, Saha has emerged as a force to reckon with, both in front of and behind the stumps. He will be critical to his team's success in the final.

Opener Joyojit Basu, who left for Kolkata on Saturday to perform his father's last rites, is expected to rejoin Bengal for the final.

The teams (from):

Mumbai: Ajit Agarkar (capt.), Ajinkya Rahane, Wasim Jaffer, Suryakumar Yadav, Anup Revandkar, Abhishek Nayar, Sushant Marathe, Aditya Tare, Iqbal Abdulla, Ankit Chavan, Dhaval Kulkarni, Kshemal Waingankar, Javed Khan, Shoaib Shaikh, Gaurav Jathar and Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr).

Bengal: Sourav Ganguly (capt.), Wriddhiman Saha, Anustup Majumdar, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Arnab Nandi, Joyojit Basu, Sanjib Sanyal, Iresh Saxena, Mohammad Shami, Debabrata Das, Shreevats Goswami, Subhamoy Das, Sourav Sarkar, Veer Pratap Singh and Aritra Chatterjee.

Umpires: K. Srinath and Subrat Das; Match Referee: Chinmay Sharma.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 4:33:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/will-it-be-mumbai-or-bengal/article2985476.ece

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