Ever since Bombay was renamed as Mumbai, the 40-time Ranji Trophy champions have not been able to win a Ranji match against Uttar Pradesh at the Wankhede Stadium.
Uttar Pradesh’s Praveen Kumar shares a light moment with Mumbai’s Rohit Sharma at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
In 1997-98 season, Mumbai lost to Uttar Pradesh by three wickets. They again clashed in 2005-06 in the semi-final at the inconic stadium which Uttar Pradesh won by five wickets. The last time Mumbai won at Wankhede against UP was in 1994-95 when they were called Bombay.
Today is another opportunity for Mumbai to improve their Ranji record at home against Suresh Raina’s team when they clash in a Group 'B' encounter.
Mumbai skipper Aditya Tare said he has fresh memory of the Ranji Trophy final against Uttar Pradesh in 2008-09. "We (Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh) share a healthy rivalry. I remember the Ranji final against them. They (Uttar Pradesh) may have a better record here as they played at the Wankhede before the renovation (in 2011). However, it is a completely different pitch now," Tare said.
A fresh beginning
Uttar Pradesh skipper Raina said it will be a fresh beginning. "Both teams are good. The youngsters are doing well. It is a good challenge and a fresh game. It is a long tournament," Raina said.
Mumbai and UP have been boosted by the arrival of Rohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar respectively after the duo did not find a place in the India playing XI of the first Test at Mohali.
Mumbai’s batting in the four Ranji matches has been riding on individual excellence. If it was Shreyas Iyer’s double ton and Tare century against Punjab, middle-order batsman Siddhesh Lad scored 150 against Tamil Nadu that put Mumbai back in contention in that contest.
Iyer was again the star performer for Mumbai in the last match against Baroda with his 173 and valuable contribution of 89 from Abhishek Nayar towards the end.
With Rohit available for this tie, Mumbai can expect some more contributions in the batting department. "A player like Rohit is a boost for any team. It is an added advantage to the team," said Tare.