Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Misfiring Maharashtra, Mumbai gear up for derby

A defeat for either side in the Elite Group A clash at the MCA Stadium, Pune, could dash the hopes of its qualification for the knockout stage.

Published : Dec 05, 2018 19:24 IST , PUNE

File Photo: Stand-in captain Siddhesh Lad (far right) hopes Aditya Tare (left) and Suryakumar Yadav will lead the younger unit along from the front.
File Photo: Stand-in captain Siddhesh Lad (far right) hopes Aditya Tare (left) and Suryakumar Yadav will lead the younger unit along from the front.
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File Photo: Stand-in captain Siddhesh Lad (far right) hopes Aditya Tare (left) and Suryakumar Yadav will lead the younger unit along from the front.

For the first seven decades of the Ranji Trophy, the Maharashtra derby used to be one of the most sought-after matches in the domestic cricket calendar. The dynamics have changed so much over the last 15 years that Maharashtra versus Mumbai is no longer an annual affair, and the tag ‘grudge match’ isn’t relevant any more for the younger generation.

More than the arch-rivalry, survival instincts of both the teams will matter more over the next four days at the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s international stadium at Gahunje in the Elite Group A clash. After all, tied apiece at four points from three matches, both the teams are lying at the bottom of the joint pile of the top two groups. The team that fails to win the match will in all likelihood have to give up on the aspirations of qualifying for the knockout stage.

Missing key players

As the contingents engaged in light training on Wednesday, one could notice that the similarities between them didn’t end at points tally. Both teams are missing key players due to a variety of reasons and both have seen seasoned batsmen failing to fire this season.

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Siddhesh Lad (in picture) will lead the Mumbai side for the contest. Photo: Prashant Nakwe
 

As if the absence of Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane (India) and Shreyas Iyer (India A) wasn’t enough, Mumbai will miss out on the services of captain Dhawal Kulkarni and pacer Tushar Deshpande, both of whom suffered injuries during last week’s loss to Gujarat.

Read | Bolstered Karnataka starts favourite against Saurashtra

Maharashtra also saw in-form Ruturaj Gaikwad, having joined India’s squad for the Emerging Asia Cup, ruled out alongside Ankeet Bawnne (India A) and Kedar Jadhav (rehabilitating from a hamstring injury).

As a result, seasoned players from both the teams will know time is running out for them. Mumbai’s stand-in captain Siddhesh Lad hoped that Suryakumar Yadav and Aditya Tare, who is set to open with Jay Bista, will lead the younger unit along from the front. Maharashtra will look forward to the likes of Swapnil Gugale, Chirag Khurana, Rohit Motwani and captain Rahul Tripathi delivering with the willow.

Read | Jaydev Shah to retire from all cricket

The only stark difference between both the units is the composition of pace attack. While Samad Fallah and Anupam Sanklecha have been sharing the red cherry for at least a decade for Maharashtra, Mumbai’s pace troika of Royston Dias, Minad Manjrekar and Shivam Malhotra have a combined tally of 13 wickets from eight matches.

  • Maharashtra: Rahul Tripathi (c), Chirag Khurana, Satyajeet Bachhav, Nikit Dhumal, Samad Fallah, Swapnil Gugale, Harshad Khadiwale, Rohit Motwani, Mukesh Choudhary, Akshay Palkar, Jay Pande, Anupam Sanklecha, Naushad Shaikh, Vijay Zol.
  • Mumbai: Siddhesh Lad (c), Aditya Tare (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Jay Bista, Shivam Dube, Eknath Kerkar (wk), Armaan Jaffer, Karsh Kothari, Akash Parkar, Shubham Ranjane, Dhrumil Matkar, Bhupen Lalwani, Shivam Malhotra, Royston Dias, Minad Manjrekar.
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