Ranji Trophy: Karnataka hosts Mumbai in heavyweight clash

The heavyweight clash presents Karnataka and Mumbai, which have played a match each, a chance to gain early momentum.

Mumbai gained three points on the basis of first-innings lead in the opening fixture against Railways.   -  The Hindu

The last time domestic heavyweights Karnataka and Mumbai met in the Ranji Trophy, the latter was given a hiding like never before. The 41-time champion was walloped by Karnataka by an innings and 20 runs in 2017-18 season quarterfinals. When the two sides meet at the KSCA Stadium in Belagavi starting Tuesday, to rekindle their storied rivalry, a result as lopsided looks highly unlikely.

Karnataka is a much-changed side from then, missing three of its best top-order batsmen in R. Samarth, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair, and off-spinner K. Gowtham, all part of the India-A squad currently touring New Zealand. It remains to be seen who among rookie Liyan Khan, Shishir Bhavane and Pavan Deshpande make the cut.

Mumbai similarly cannot call on the services of its dashing opener Prithvi Shaw, also in New Zealand, and Shreyas Iyer, who is with the Indian senior team in Australia. But the presence of clutch of seasoned players like Akhil Herwadkar, Suryakumar Yadav, Siddhesh Lad among others may give it a slight edge.

Read: Andhra, TN eye first wins

“We can't underestimate Karnataka as a team,” said Mumbai skipper Dhawal Kulkarni. “They have done well in the past and our rivalry has been competitive. They have got a good mix of young and experienced players.”

Both teams come into the match after having secured three points from their opening fixtures -- Mumbai against Railways and Karnataka versus defending champion Vidarbha. While for Karnataka it ushered in some much-needed positivity following the wretched Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign, for Mumbai it was about successfully transitioning from the one-day to the four-day format.

“I always believe in starting the tournament well,” said Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar. “In the Vijay Hazare Trophy we did not start well. So it [Vidarbha result] is a plus point for us. It is good that we are playing Mumbai early in the competition. Overall, the morale is good.”

Much though will depend on the weather in Belagavi. A heavy downpour late on Sunday and predominantly overcast conditions on the match eve kept the ground staff on tenterhooks. But both sides agreed that it would have negligible effect on the pitch, which is considered a
batting beauty.

The teams (from)

Karnataka: R. Vinay Kumar (captain), D. Nischal, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Abhimanyu Mithun, B.R. Sharath (wk), K. V. Siddharth, Prasidh Krishna, Shishir Bhavane, Ronit More, Pavan Deshpande, J. Suchith, Mir Kaunain Abbas, Sharath Srinivas, Liyan Khan

Mumbai: Dhawal Kulkarni (captain), Aditya Tare (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Jay Bista, Akhil Herwadkar, Siddhesh Lad, Akash Parkar, Karsh Kothari, Shams Mulani, Shivam Dube, Akshay Sardesai, Eknath Kerkar, Tushar Deshpande, Royston Dias, Badrey Alam