Aditya Tare & Co take on Punjab in Mumbai today
There are two things on top of Mumbai skipper Aditya Tare's mind — open their win account of the Ranji Trophy season and make the most of the home advantage — when they square off against Punjab in their second Group 'B' match at the Wankhede Stadium today.
Jeff Thomson watches Mumbai pacer Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr) bowl at Wankhede yesterday. The former Australia pacer is in the city to head the MCA-IDBI Federal Life Insurance Bowling Foundation. Pic/Suresh KK
Mumbai had a disappointing start to their campaign when their fragile batting conceded the first innings lead to Andhra last week. They are back in familiar conditions, but that does not guarantee a better performance. Mumbai last experienced a win at home in November 2013 against Vidarbha. And the last season was not something that Tare would like to boast about. Mumbai began their campaign on a disastrous note, losing to minnows Jammu & Kashmir in their opening clash.
In the next match, the hosts conceded first innings lead to Madhya Pradesh. They managed to take the three points against eventual winners Karnataka when it mattered the most — in their last league match at Wankhede. It helped them keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage.
More home games
Unlike last season when Mumbai played more away games, the 40-time champions are scheduled to play five home matches this season. Tare is aware that doing well at home will hold the key for his team. "That's a point we need to look at… improve our home record. Things didn't go well for us at Wankhede (in the last season). We won games away from home more and that's one thing we have to correct this season," Tare said on the eve of the clash.
The skipper said he missed the true, 'sporting' wicket of Wankhede last season. "We did not get the tracks where we could force an outright win. There were matches where we saw both teams scoring 400-plus runs. Hopefully, we will get true wickets this time," Tare said.
Skipper Yuvraj Singh is fancying Punjab's chances of winning against Mumbai whom they last beat outright in 2004-05. "Mumbai has always been a consistent side whether they start well or they don't start well. They always land up in the final four. Punjab has always done well here. We had a very good start and we just want to capitalise on it," said Yuvraj.