Ranji Trophy: Mumbai look to sort out opening blues against MP

Mumbai have tried five openers in four matches so far

Mumbai's campaign seems to be coming back on track after the shock defeat against Jammu & Kashmir in the Ranji Trophy opener at the Wankhede Stadium last month.

Opener Akhil Herwadkar bats in the nets at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Opener Akhil Herwadkar bats in the nets at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate 

The bowling department is clicking and so is the batting unit. Despite some stability in the batting department, the opening position still remains a major concern for the 40-time Ranji champions.

This is one flaw that Mumbai, second in the Group 'A' points table with 10 points behind defending champions Karnataka (18 points), would look to iron out as soon as possible when they take on Madhya Pradesh, placed eighth in the group with five points, at the Wankhede Stadium today.

In Mumbai's very first encounter against J&K, coach Pravin Amre sent in debutants Bravish Shetty and Kevin Almeida, who provided a 51-run stand in the first innings. In the second innings they put up a 34-run partnership. Shetty scored 35 and 17 in the first and second innings respectively while Almeida scored 19 and 27.

Mumbai tried Sushant Marathe in place of Almeida for the second tie against Railways. It ended in a huge disappointment as Shetty and Marathe were back in the pavilion with the score reading 21 and Mumbai folded up for 101. The clash against Uttar Pradesh was no different as Shetty (7 and 9) and Marathe (3 and 17) failed to give Mumbai a good start.

Mumbai skipper Suryakumar Yadav at Wankhede yesterday
Mumbai skipper Suryakumar Yadav at Wankhede yesterday 

Shetty and Marathe were dropped for the next match against Bengal. Aditya Tare was promoted to open the batting with Akhil Herwadkar. The duo put up a 40-run stand. It was for the first time both openers scored more than 20 runs in an innings.

"It (opening) was a concern in the first few matches, but we are slowly settling down with our combination. Aditya and Akhil did a fine job in the last game and we will back them to do well in the matches to come. At some point, we also had to finalise our opening combination," Mumbai's 24-year-old skipper Suryakumar Yadav said on the eve of the clash.

Yadav said everyone in the team is taking responsibility which is helping the team perform well. "There is nothing like senior or junior players in the team. Everyone is doing their job well. In fact, at times, junior players are looking to take the pressure off the seniors which is a good sign," said Yadav.

Meanwhile, there were concerns over Siddhesh Lad's finger injury, but the middle-order batsman was declared fit for the MP tie after yesterday's practice session.

Average number of runs scored by Mumbai opening pairs this season

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