Ranji Trophy: Fully-loaded Mumbai aim to derail Railways at Wankhede Stadium
There were significant half century contributions from the vastly experienced Ajinkya Rahane, Shams Mulani and Shardul Thakur in the first essay and a century from captain Suryakumar Yadav in the second
A massive victory by over 300 runs against a competitive side like Baroda in the new season's Ranji Trophy opener will be the ideal tonic for 41-times champions as they take on weak-on-paper Railways in the four-day game at the Wankhede Stadium commencing on Wednesday.
Mumbai, led by Suryakumar Yadav, rode roughshod over their West Zone rivals—against whom they have waged pitched battles in the past—and also displayed their batting prowess in strong measures in both innings—indicated by their 400-plus totals on both occasions.
There were significant half-century contributions from the vastly experienced Ajinkya Rahane, Shams Mulani and Shardul Thakur in the first essay and a century from captain Suryakumar Yadav in the second. What must have pleased Mumbai immensely was the running into peak form with a second-innings double ton by young opener Prithvi Shaw following his first-innings 66 so soon after serving out the BCCI-imposed suspension for a positive dope transgression.
High hopes from Mulani
Mulani also showed he could be the answer for his team's previous spin woes with a 10-wicket haul with his slow, orthodox left-arm bowling.
Dhawal Kulkarni is still out due to injury leading to a surgery, but Shardul Thakur and Tushar Deshpande are there to provide the cutting edge in medium pace attack on a track that traditionally helps the pacers, especially early on in the game.
The team, however, is bound to miss Shreyas Iyer and Shivam Dube, who have opted to take a break after their recent stint in national colours against the visiting West Indians.
Yadav, who has made it to the India 'A' squad to tour New Zealand soon after seven years for a few limited over games, sounded happy with his team's display in the clash against Baroda at the Reliance Stadium but cautioned that Railways have always been a competitive side.
"The boys are very positive. They are doing well. We got a small break, and regrouped a week back. Things are going pretty well. The mood in the camp is really positive.
"They [Railways] have always been a competitive side. I've played a lot of games against them. They always come really hard whenever they play against us. So, I think, it will be a cracker of a game. Yes, the team will miss them [Iyer and Dube], but at the same time, I always say that the show must go on. There are players who're filing their place and taking up that challenge and responsibility. I hope we continue that," the experienced middle-order batsman said.
The squad is now armed with a bowling coach too in the form of former Rajasthan pacer Pradeep Sundaram. He did not think the team missed a skill-specific coach and expressed his happiness over the addition to the squad's support staff. "Not really, because we had senior bowlers in the team when we started the season with the limited over tournaments. Dhawal and Shardul were there. They have all played a decent level of cricket. However, his addition is a good thing for us. We're happy to have him," said Yadav.
Railways surprised Uttar Pradesh at Meerut before suffering a big defeat against Saurashtra in a match in which their batsmen floundered against the left-arm pace of Jaydev Unadkat, who finished with a tenner.
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