Mumbai faces a tough task

Nandakumar Marar

Powar, Kulkarni not available for Mumbai

TN's teamwork in the zonal tie against Karnataka stands out

RAJKOT: Mumbai faces the toughest test in the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day cricket tournament so far with a power-packed Tamil Nadu lined up for the quarterfinal at the Madhavrao Scindia Stadium here on Thursday.

The latter wears a settled look following the return of captain M. Vijay and S. Badrinath for domestic cricket's 50-over version.

Off-spinner R. Ashwin and wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik's absence due to National duty forces a re-allocation of responsibility for Tamil Nadu.

Apart from dealing with an in-form Tamil Nadu side, Mumbai's bowling options appear to have diminished due to spinner Ramesh Powar and fast bowler Dhaval Kulkarni's non-availability. Both wicket-taking bowlers will be out of action for a long period, said coach Praveen Amre.

Captain Wasim Jaffer, the classy Rohit Sharma and the run-hungry Ajinkya Rahane have to deliver at the right time for Mumbai to present a strong challenge in the knockout phase.

Parag Khanapurkar's century on debut against Punjab in the pre-quarterfinal is typical of Mumbai youngsters' ability to grab opportunities. The young batsman has worked his way up the ranks in Mumbai's age-group cricket and is enjoying the fruits of consistent scores in the leagues.

Iqbal Abdulla is another Mumbai player with the ability to perform in pressure situations against highly-rated teams like defending champion Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu's teamwork in the zonal home tie against Karnataka stood out as the top-order batsmen fired away to 316 for eight in 50 overs and then the bowlers chipped in with wickets to fashion a thrilling two-run victory.

The confidence within the Tamil Nadu squad in domestic cricket this season and the ability of players promoted to the National squad to translate their first-class form into international performances has made coach W.V. Raman face the problem of plenty.

Teams (from):

Mumbai: W. Jaffer (capt.), A. Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Parag Khanapurkar, Aditya Tare, Praful Vaghela, Abhishek Raut, A. Agarkar, Usman Malvi, Iqbal Abdulla, Rahil Shaikh, Murtuza Hussain, Sushant Marathe, Omkar Gaurav, Suryakant Yadav. Coach: Praveen Amre.

Tamil Nadu: M. Vijay (capt.), Abhinav Mukund, S. Badrinath, R. Sathish, R. Suthesh, Suresh Kumar, Arun Karthik, S. Anirudha, K.H. Gopinath, L. Balaji, V. Yo Mahesh, Arun Kumar, K. Vasudeva Das, C. Ganapathy. M. Prabhu. Coach: W.V. Raman.

Umpires: S. Shamsuddin and K. Hariharan. Third umpire: Ravi Deshmukh.

Match referee: Prakash Bhatt .

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