Vijay Hazare Trophy: Mouth-watering clash on the cards as Gujarat plays Mumbai

The two teams clashed in the final of the Ranji Trophy at Indore earlier this season—Gujarat emerged triumphant—and there is bound to be some needle in this clash. Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit said, “This is a different format. We beat Gujarat in Twenty20 and could have won the Ranji Trophy had we held our catches.”

Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel bats at the nets in Chennai on Friday.   -  Photo: M. Vedhan

 

In a key duel, Mumbai will take on Gujarat on the opening day of the Group ‘C’ matches in the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament here on Saturday.

The two teams clashed in the final of the Ranji Trophy at Indore earlier this season—Gujarat emerged triumphant—and there is bound to be some needle in this clash. Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit said, “This is a different format. We beat Gujarat in Twenty20 and could have won the Ranji Trophy had we held our catches.”

He added, “We want to win every game and this match is no exception. These are two good sides.”

Focus on Dhoni as Jharkhand takes on Karnataka

The surface at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, the venue for the match, should have some bounce in the first half of the match encouraging, both—pacemen and strokeplay. The pitch in the later part of the day could encourage spin. Batting first may not be a bad option.

Both sides have game-changers. For Mumbai, the in-form Shreyas Iyer, a natural stroke-maker, will be eyeing a productive competition. Wicket-keeper batsman Aditya Tare can dazzle in front of the wickets and then there are others such as Suryakumar Yadav and Siddesh Lad. Much focus will on young opener Prithvi Shaw.

Shardul Thakur leads the pace pack where wily pace-bowling all-rounder Abhishek Nayar could don a key role. Among the spinners will be the 45-year-old leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, still fresh faced, still full of optimism.

Mumbai is without paceman Dhawal Kulkarni nursing a knee injury and batsman Rohit Sharma still grappling with fitness concerns. Pandit, however, said both Dhawal and Rohit could join the squad after the third match if they clear medical tests.

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Gujarat will look at the experienced Parthiv Patel for inspiration. He keeps wickets, shows the way with the willow and skippers astutely. Parthiv has also motivated this Gujarat side to punch above its weight. The side will seek runs from the Manpreet Juneja, such a fluent striker of the ball, in the middle-order.

And Jasprit Bumrah will be a clear and present danger with the ball. The Mumbai batsmen will need to dig out his yorkers, read his slower ones and attempt to break the paceman’s rhythm.

Test of characters

In the other games on Saturday, Bengal meets Andhra at the IC-Guru Nanak ground. With Manoj Tiwary, Ashok Dinda and Pragyan Ojha in its ranks, Bengal starts as favourite.

Andhra, though, could have other ideas. In Srikar Bharat and Hanuma Vihari it has batsmen who can build an innings while left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt is a seasoned bowler. And leg-spinner Dasari Swaroop Kumar is promising.

And Madhya Pradesh meets Rajasthan in what could be an interesting duel at the SSN ground. Rajasthan’s pace attack, featuring Pankaj Singh, Aniket Choudhary and Nathu Singh, is its strength.

Madhya Pradesh is a better all-round side with wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha, Rajat Patidar and Harpreet Singh leading its batting. And the reliable paceman Ishwar Pandey will be the bowling spearhead.

All matches start at 9 a.m.