Vijay Hazare Trophy: Mumbai faces Hyderabad challenge in first semis

In Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Rohit Sharma and skipper Shreyas Iyer, the Mumbai outfit boasts of a truly fearsome top-order.

Rohit Sharma during a practice session at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. (File Photo)   -  Sudhakara Jain

A powerhouse Mumbai line-up takes on Hyderabad in the first semifinal of the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.

The Mumbai team received a big boost with the addition of Ajinkya Rahane and Prithvi Shaw, both of whom returned to the State squad after their recent Test stints.

In Rahane, Prithvi, Rohit Sharma and skipper Shreyas Iyer, the outfit boasts of a truly fearsome top-order.

The four players were not present at nets on Tuesday morning, but Mumbai coach Vinayak Samant stated that they will be available for the match.

Former Mumabi wicket-keeper Samant, who has made 101 first-class appearances, added, “Having Rahane, Prithvi, Rohit and Shreyas in the eleven lifts our morale a great deal, and it also gives the opposition something to worry about.

But I have to make sure that complacency doesn’t creep in. Sometimes, a team full of stalwarts can end up losing. It is important for everyone to play to their full potential.”

Suryakumar injured

The side received an unexpected jolt, when all-rounder Suryakumar Yadav was hit on the forearm by left-arm pacer Royston Dias in the Mumbai nets at KSCA ‘B’ ground.

The delivery, which tailed in and jumped menacingly from a good length, left Suryakumar fuming and in a great deal of pain.

There were no cracks in the teammates' relationship, however, as Suryakumar and Dias engaged in a friendly chat later on.

“We will take a call on Suryakumar’s fitness tonight," Samant said.

Hyderabad banks on Siraj

Hyderabad has also benefitted from the recent inclusion of an India international, in Mohammed Siraj. The fast bowler took three crucial wickets to help his side edge out Andhra by 14 runs in the quarterfinal on Monday.

Middle-order batsman B. Sandeep – Hyderabad's highest run-scorer in the tournament - took the player of the match award in the Andhra fixture for a 97-ball 96.

Left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan went wicketless in the last-eight clash, but has impressed through the course of this campaign with 13 wickets.

Siraj, Sandeep, Hasan and the rest of the Hyderabad players have to be at their very best if they are to halt Mumbai’s eight-match unbeaten streak.

Jharkhand aims to upset Delhi

On Thursday, Delhi takes on Jharkhand in the second semifinal. For Delhi, skipper Gautam Gambhir has been in terrific form.

Gambhir’s solid 104 in the quarterfinal win over Haryana propelled him to third on the tournament's list of highest run-scorers.

In the same outing, left-arm fast bowler Kulwant Khejroliya grabbed the spotlight with a six-for haul, which included a hat-trick.

Jharkhand’s remarkable run, in the absence of star player M.S. Dhoni, is based on splendid team-effort. The unheralded East Zone unit, led by the young and dynamic wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan, has the trophy within arm’s reach.