Ranji Trophy: Mumbai look to regain momentum

MUMBAI will look to regain their lost momentum as they meet Tamil Nadu in the fourth round of the Ranji Trophy fixture at the Brabourne Stadium starting Tuesday. Mumbai come into the game on the back of a defeat against Saurashtra at home, while TN drew their last game against Delhi at the Kotla.

While Mumbai are sitting top of Group B with 13 points, for Tamil Nadu this game is crucial in many ways. They are sixth in the eight-team group with 6 points and to keep their quarterfinals qualification hopes alive, they will need three points, which they will get if they draw the game and take first innings lead. While they lost to Andhra in the second round, they were in a strong position against Hyderabad and Delhi before bad light ensured they couldn’t close out the game and take home six points.

So facing Mumbai in the backdrop will be a huge challenge for the TN side. The hosts will be without Suryakumar Yadav, who is on national duty and skipper Ajinkya Rahane is confident that the team has left the defeat to Saurashtra behind.

“You will win matches, you will lose matches. It is important how you go and play each and every game, and each and every session. That’s important. As a team we are confident. We respect every team and we know each team in our group really well and our focus is to play to our potential and back our strength and play with freedom,” Rahane said on eve of the game.

Despite Yadav’s unavailability, Mumbai still have a decent top-order and a batting line-up that includes Prithvi Shaw, Yashasvi Jaiswal at the top and Rahane in the middle. In place of Yadav, Armaan Jaffer will regain his place in the side. Rahane believes attitude matters the most irrespective of whether you win or lose. When asked what advice he gave to the team post defeat, he explained, “Four-day cricket is all about giving your best in every session. One session can turn the game away from you, so my advice to the team is to have a good attitude, give your best, and control the controllable.”

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu skipper Baba Indrajith expressed how crucial this game will be for them. Their lower-order helped them post mammoth score against Delhi, however, they will hope their top-order comes up with a big score on a decent Brabourne Stadium pitch which has something for everyone.

Indrajith admitted that the game is a very important one for Tamil Nadu. “It is a very crucial game. I know we are sitting slightly at the bottom of the table, whereas some of the teams have got outright wins. Somewhere we were a bit unlucky, but we have to wait for the right time,” he said.

While an outright win will be a massive boost for Tamil Nadu, Indrajith said the team’s approach will not centre on it. “I don’t want the boys to feel the pressure or push for an outright win right from Day One. The game does not work like that. The first two days are important and then, if there’s a situation where we can build on a lead, we can look at an outright win.”

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