Back at their ruthless best, record champions Mumbai are confident in Uttar Pradesh in what promises to be an intriguing semi-final of the Ranji Trophy, which kicks off here on Tuesday. The in-form Mumbai hitters will face a varied UP attack, which will be enhanced by the addition of pacer Mohsin Khan. The 41-time Ranji champions made it to the last four with a world record 725 runs at Uttarakhand and will aim to bring the momentum into the game. UP decimated Karnataka by five wickets. Mumbai will once again rely on their batters to set the tone. All eyes would be on Prithvi Shaw, who will have to be at his best against Mohsin and Co.
The other two big players are Yashasvi Jaiswal and an in-form Sarfaraz Khan who would be dripping with confidence after their hundreds in the final game.
Sarfaraz has arbitrarily subdued the opposition’s attacks. And so it indeed becomes a challenge for the UP bowling unit to stop him.
Debutant Suved Parkar, who scored a double hundred, will try to add points in his pussy, while Armaan Jaffer would also see a bigger punch.
However, Mumbai will be forced to make a change as wicketkeeper Aditya Tare has been ruled out due to injury and Hardik Tamore could make the playing XI.
But this time around, they would have to deal with the likes of left-arm trooper Yash Dayal, Ankit Rajpoot and tweaker Saurabh Kumar, who could spin a web around the opposition.
Kumar, who took seven wickets in the quarter-finals, could be the go-to man for skipper Karan Sharma.
It is unlikely that Mumbai will tinker with their bowling combination. And left-arm spinner Shams Mulani, who has taken fifers at will, will try to recreate his magic.
Add to that the experience of Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohit Awasthi, Tushar Deshpande and young off-spinner Tanush Kotian, Mumbai has the necessary firepower to beat the UP batters.
UP also has a relatively inexperienced batting lineup and relies on one or two batters. Their highest order should fire in unison and Skipper Sharma should lead from the front.
Two other hitters who can make an impact are Priyam Garg and Rinku Singh.
But the others like Aryan Juval, Samarth Singh and Dhruv Jorel should stand up and take more responsibility. While Mumbai would like to get one step closer to their 42nd title, UP has the means to cause a big surprise.
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