Ranji Trophy: Mumbai face huge task against Karnataka
Facing a must-win situation in their last league match against Karnataka, starting at the Wankhede Stadium today, Mumbai will aim to end their winless home streak of the current Ranji Trophy season.
Aditya Tare dives during a practice session at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble
Alarmingly, Mumbai's last win at home came against Vidarbha in November 2013. The last time they took the first innings lead was against Orissa in December 2013.
This season, Mumbai began their campaign on a disastrous note when they lost to minnows Jammu & Kashmir last December. In the next match, the hosts conceded first innings lead to Madhya Pradesh.
Aditya Tare, who is leading the side in only his second match of the season, is keen to ensure Mumbai exploits home conditions against Karnataka. "Every team has taken home advantage. We also want to do well at our home. We are also keen to gain the home advantage. I hope we get a favourable result in this match," Tare told reporters on the eve of the match.
Tare could not give any particular reason for Mumbai's poor show especially at home. "Right now our focus is on winning the next match. Post mortem (of why we did not do well at home) should be ideally done once the season is over. We are not thinking about anything apart from winning our next match. Winning the last match has given us confidence which we hope to carry on in this match," he added.
For Mumbai to qualify for the knock-outs, the 40-time Ranji champions need to literally play out of their skins for the next four days. An outright win is a must for Mumbai, who are on 17 points. A win with a bonus point will make their qualification safer.
Mumbai's Suryakumar Yadav (right) hugs KL Rahul of Karnataka at Wankhede yesterday
Even if Mumbai win, they will have to keep an eye on the result of the Tamil Nadu vs Baroda game at Moti Baugh Stadium at Vadodara. Tamil Nadu, who are on 23 points, need to beat Baroda (18 points) or at least gain first innings lead to secure their berth.
If Tamil Nadu are to lose then Mumbai and Baroda go through, considering Madhya Pradesh and Railways (both on 16 points each) draw their respective games against Bengal and Uttar Pradesh respectively.
However, if Baroda win, Mumbai, MP and Railways end up winning with bonus points, then all four teams will be tied on 23 points with Tamil Nadu. The team with most outright wins will go through. The quotient will come into the picture for the last qualification spot.
Tare is clear what needs to be done. "We are not thinking of anything other than a win because other results won't help us qualify. We have to play to win. Simple," he signed off.