A daring Delhi will have to be at their best to upstage the mighty Mumbai when the traditional domestic powerhouses square off in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Saturday. Both teams have their bases covered though Delhi have an upper hand in the pace department with Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya doing the job for the team in helpful conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Mumbai, on the other hand, have a star-studded batting line-up comprising Ajinkya Rahane, Prithivi Shaw and in-form captain Shreyas Iyer. With the firepower they possess, Mumbai should not be missing the services of Rohit Sharma, who played the quarterfinals and semifinals before joining the India ODI squad ahead of the West Indies series beginning on Sunday.
Mumbai, who have won the tournament twice ever since it became a pan India affair, have cruised into the final having thrashed Bihar and Hyderabad in the quarter and semi-final respectively. Pacers Dhawal Kulkarni and Tushar Deshpande have delivered in crunch moments and so has young left-arm spinner Shams Mulani, who is Mumbai’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 16 scalps.
Captain Iyer has led from the front, amassing 366 runs at an average of 122 including two hundreds and a fifty. Shaw, who turned heads with special performances in his debut Test series against the West Indies, has made his presence felt in the four games he has played so far, scoring 348 runs at 87 including a quickfire 61 in the semifinal.
However, it will be a test for them against Saini and Khejroliya. Both the Delhi pacers and rest of the team will be fired up for the final, considering they came out of nowhere to beat Jharkhand in the second semi-final.
Gautam Gambhir-led side were on the brink of elimination before Pawan Negi, batting at number nine, played a sensible knock under severe pressure to take Delhi over the line in the final over of the match. The in-form skipper, who missed out in the last game, will be expected to deliver again alongside Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana.
Gambhir’s opening partner Unmukt Chand has not yet fired in the knock-out stage and will be under pressure to perform in the all-important final. The likes Pranshu Vijayaran and Lalit Yadav will also like to play their part in the summit clash.