Mumbai enter quarters as dark horses
February 16-20, 2015
Start time: 09.30 IST
Halfway into the league stage, Delhi had been assured of a place in the knockouts. Mumbai, at the same stage, were in danger of being relegated to the lowest rung of the tournament for the first time. Not until the last day of the league stage did Mumbai really think they could make it to the quarter-finals. Despite their record, even Mumbai players realise that they would enter the match as dark horses.
While Mumbai have often relied on individual brilliance to pull them out of trouble all through the season, Delhi - just like Karnataka - have set a perfect example of coming good as a team. They don't have a batsman in top-20 run-getters for the season. Neither do their bowlers feature in the top-20. Still, they earned 37 points in the league stage to top Group B.
When it comes to conditions, Delhi will hold a slight edge. The match will be played at the DRIEMS ground on the outskirts of Cuttack, known to aid seamers. With Delhi's bowlers having delivered consistently, Mumbai will have to hope for their new-ball duo of Shardul Thakur and Balwinder Singh Sandhu to see them through.
In the spotlight
He has impressed with his speed and, more importantly, accuracy, something that was missing in the last season. Shardul Thakur would be hoping to show his class and help his team stage an upset. He would be immensely happy to get away from the Wankhede Stadium. While he has picked up 32 wickets at 23.62 this season, only four of those - at 81.50 - came at home.
Thanks to his three hundreds this season, Unmukt Chand has finally managed to live up to his promise. He would still be ruing not being as consistent as a top-notch opener should be. He would be gunning to stamp his class when it matters the most for his team.
Mumbai: Aditya Tare (Captain), Abhishek Nayar, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Siddhesh Lad, Sufiyan Shaikh, Shardul Thakur, Nikhil Patil, Akhil Herwadkar, Shrideep Mangela, Wilkin Mota, Tushar Deshpande, Akshay Girap, Harmeet Singh, Balwinder Singh Sandhu.
Delhi: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Virender Sehwag, Unmukt Chand, Milind Kumar, Mithun Manhas, Rajat Bhatia, Vaibhav Rawal, Rahul Yadav, Sumit Narwal, Parvinder Awana, Varun Sood, Shivam Sharma, Pradeep Sangwan, Manan Sharma and Vikas Tokas.
Stats and trivia
- Mumbai have lost just one of their 26 Ranji encounters against Delhi. Fifteen of these games have been draws.
- Mithun Manhas will become only the fourth player to feature in 125 Ranji games and join an elite club of Amol Muzumdar (136), Rashmi Parida (126) and Sanjay Bangar (125). Manhas is also 89 runs short of becoming the fourth batsman to score 8,000 runs in Ranji Trophy after Wasim Jaffer (9759), Amol Muzumdar (9202) and Hrishikesh Kanitkar (8059)
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.