Ranji Trophy: Struggling Tamil Nadu, Mumbai face off at Chepauk

Tamil Nadu hosts Mumbai in a round five match of the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Tamil Nadu will be hoping for home advantage to give it an upper hand against Mumbai in a Ranji Trophy game.   -  G. Karthikeyan

A Tamil Nadu-Mumbai match in Ranji Trophy is considered as one of the most anticipated marquee clashes in Indian domestic cricket. Come Saturday, yet another such clash is upon us at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here in what is kind of a do-or-die game for both sides.

The teams are far from where they would want to be after two defeats and not a lot of points on board in the race for a place in the knockouts. The home team comes into the game with just four points from as many games and needs to win almost all its remaining four games to progress.

A good thing though for TN is the team is almost at full strength with the return of R Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Abhinav Mukund and Baba Indrajith, playing his first match for TN in nearly ten months after shoulder surgery.

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Speaking on Friday, coach D. Vasu said the team had made a turn-around in its last game against UP in Kanpur taking the first-innings lead in a close low-scoring encounter and is ready to go for the kill with a full-strength team at his disposal “We have to go for outright win every game, otherwise, we have no chance of qualifying. That will be our motto.”

Following defeats in its last two games (vs Railways and Karnataka), things have become tougher for Mumbai with key players including the in-form skipper Suryakumar Yadav and Ajinkya Rahane missing due to national duties while Prithvi Shaw injured his shoulder in the last game.

The senior players like Aditya Tare, who leads the side in Suryakumar’s absence, and Siddhesh Lad have struggled to get runs so far and would need to step up considering there are a lot of youngsters in the side.

Skipper Tare said, “We have our backs against the wall. The only way forward is to play aggressive and positive cricket. For all the young players to come and play in the situation, it is going to test our character.”

While Mumbai is better placed with one win and five games in hand, the home team will hold a slight edge thanks to the return of senior players.