Mumbai, who routed minnows Tripura by 10 wickets in their last league game to book their knock-out berth, will lock horns with Karnataka in what promises to be a no-holds-barred Ranji Trophy quarter-final match between two battle-hardened teams commencing on Thursday.
Mumbai drubbed Tripura at the Wankhede Stadium in what was a must-win game for the 41-times Ranji Trophy champions to gather some timely momentum after a sluggish earlier phase.
The Mumbai opening pair of in-form young batsman Prithvi Shaw, who has hit three hundreds and two fifties in his debut season, and Jay Bista, who scored a hundred in the last game, will need to be at their best to negotiate the incisive Karnataka attack and give them a sound start at the VCA stadium here in Jamtha.
In the lower middle order Siddesh Lad, who has two hundreds and three fifties this season to his credit in a season’s impressive tally of 613 runs, has been Mumbai’s crisis man.
But skipper Aditya Tare has not been among the runs and needs to fire big in this game.
Mumbai bowlers, led by medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, would also be tested by a spirited Karnataka batting line up consisting experienced batsmen like Mayank Agarwal, the top run getter in this Ranji season, and Karun Nair.
Agarwal has scored 1,064 runs in six matches, with a triple hundred to his name.
Mumbai, who ended second in Group C, will miss the services of injured pacer Shardul Thakur, apart from Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer who will be on national duty. Shubam Ranjane has been added to the squad after missing the earlier part due to injury.
Karnataka, on the other hand, had topped Group A, winning four of the six matches. Apart from Agarwal, Karnataka also boasts of performing batsmen like opener R Samarth and Nair, who all need to score big.
Their captain R Vinay Kumar is the spearhead of the pace attack while off-spinner K Gowtham, who has 27 wickets to his name this season, would lead the spin charge.
Karnataka will also miss key batsman Manish Pandey, included in India’s ODI squad against Sri Lanka.
Mumbai: Aditya Tare (Captain and wicket keeper), Surya Kumar Yadav (Vice Captain), Dhawal Kulkarni, Siddhesh Lad, Jay Bista, Prithvi Shaw, Akhil Herwadkar, Sufiyan Shaikh, Akash Parkar, Karsh Kothari, Sagar Trivedi, Vijay Gohil, Shivam Malhotra, Shivam Dube and Shubham Ranjane.
Karnataka: R Vinay Kumar (capt), Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, R Samarth, D Nischal, Stuart Binny, CM Gautam (wk), Shreyas Gopal, K Gowtham, Abhimanyu Mithun, S Aravind, Pavan Deshpande, J Suchith, M Kaunain Abbas, Sharath Srinivasan, Ronit More.