Ranji Trophy: Suryakumar returns as Mumbai eyes quarterfinal berth

Suryakumar Yadav has rejoined the Mumbai camp after representing India A in the limited-overs’ series in New Zealand - will keep its Ranji campaign alive on a tricky surface.

All smiles: The onus will be on Suryakumar Yadav to fetch Mumbai’s second outright win this season.   -  AMOL KARHADKAR

On the eve of the penultimate league round of the Ranji Trophy at the SCA stadium, he had two long batting stints. Mumbai will be hoping that Suryakumar Yadav - having rejoined the camp after representing India A in the limited-overs’ series in New Zealand - will keep its Ranji campaign alive on a tricky surface.

Suryakumar’s captaincy stint early on in the season was a mixed bag, with Mumbai losing successive games at home to Railways and Karnataka after beating Baroda in its season-opener. As a result, the selectors have preferred to stick with Aditya Tare as the leader.

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The onus will still be on Suryakumar, who along with an in-form Sarfaraz Khan, will try and fetch Mumbai’s second outright win this season on a surface that’s likely to start turning from the opening day. While Suryakumar is the backbone of the batting unit, his prodigy Sarfaraz took over the mantle in his absence.

In the last two rounds, Sarfaraz has plundered 527 runs (301 n.o. vs UP and 226 n.o. vs HP) without being dismissed for 954 minutes. If he can continue his unbeaten streak for a day here, Mumbai will certainly put Saurashtra under pressure on its home turf.

Unadkat doubtful

While Mumbai is in with only a mathematical chance to feature in the knockouts, Saurashtra is on the cusp of making the cut, safely placed third in the points table. But the home team suffered a setback ahead of the game with its captain Jaydev Unadkat all but ruled out of the game due to a niggle.

Head coach Karsan Ghavri said the final call on the left-arm pacer’s availability will be taken on Tuesday morning. If Unadkat is unable to start, left-hand batsman Aarpit Vasavada will mark his captaincy debut.

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Considering the turning track, Saurashtra has bolstered its squad with left-arm spinner Parth Bhut, who has been a consistent performer for U-23. If he adds to his solitary First Class cap on Tuesday, he will have to deal with an in-form batting attack, led by Suryakumar and Sarfaraz.

Group A: Delhi v Gujarat (New Delhi); Punjab v Andhra (Patiala); Rajasthan v Bengal (Jaipur); Vidarbha v Kerala (Nagpur).

Group B: Baroda v Tamil Nadu (Vadodara); Karnataka v Madhya Pradesh (Shimoga); Railways v Himachal (New Delhi); Saurashtra v Mumbai (Rajkot).

Group C: Haryana v Assam (Lahli); Jharkhand v Chhattisgarh (Jamshedpur); Maharashtra v Odisha (Pune); Tripura v Jammu & Kashmir (Agartala); Uttarakhand v Services (Dehradun).

Plate: Arunachal Pradesh v Bihar (Patna); Chandigarh v Mizoram (Chandigarh); Manipur v Pondicherry (Kolkata); Meghalaya v Sikkim (Mangaldoi); Nagaland v Goa (Dimapur).

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