An exciting battle is on cards when a resurgent Mumbai lock horns with defending champions Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy semifinal cricket match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium tomorrow.
Sworn enemies on the cricket field, both captains Aditya Tare and R Vinay Kumar, will not spare an inch to each other.
“To be honest we have come here to win. We know Karnataka has been performing well for the past two years. They are playing at home, so obviously the pressure is on them, not us as we are a young and grooming side,” Mumbai skipper Tare told reporters on the eve of the match.
However, Karnataka captain Vinay said, “We know the strengths and weaknesses of Mumbai. Though we conceded the last match to them by virtue of conceding first innings lead, we are confident of winning ... we have the advantage of playing at home.”
Karnataka have been unbeaten for last two years. They lost their last match against Odisha in November 2012.
They have been on a roll this season also, barring a couple of hiccups when they conceded first innings lead to Mumbai at Wankhede Stadium and Baroda in Mysuru.
The hosts have rolled over all their rivals to notch up four outright wins from seven games so far.
They have five batsmen who have amassed over 400 runs, including newly India-capped opener K L Rahul who comes into this game after scoring a marathon 337 against Uttar Pradesh in Bengaluru.
Apart from Rahul, others who have topped the 400-mark are all rounder Shreyas Gopal (558 runs), Robin Uthappa (517), Manish Pandey (447) and C M Gautam (400).
The hosts have a formidable batting line-up which would be hard to crack by Mumbai, who depend a lot on medium pacer Shardul Thakur (40 wickets).
Karnataka have a much superior all-round bowling attack, especially with the new ball. Vinay, Abhimanyu Mithun and left arm bowler Srinath Aravind, who have claimed over 25 wickets, have proved a handful for other teams.
Shreyas Gopal, who has been mainly picked up for bowling, has been scoring runs heavily for Karnataka with the bat. In fact, he is the second highest run-getter for Karnataka after Robin Uthappa.