Mumbai, Railways in battle between toppers and laggards


Mumbai, November 14: Group B toppers Mumbai clash with laggards Railways in the four-day Ranji Trophy league game that starts at the Wankhede Stadium here tomorrow.

Mumbai are sitting atop the group with 20 points but have yet to seal their knock-out spot in the tightly bunched pool.

Railways, on the other hand, are at the bottom of the nine-team heap with six points and have very slim hopes of advancing into the knock out phase. But they can act as spoilsports for the hosts.

Mumbai, 40-time winners of the title, sought a win against Uttar Pradesh in their previous game at the Wankhede.

But thanks to a placid pitch they had to be satisfied with three points when they were looking at six, at the least.

Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit today sought to play down the controversy over the team management's failed bid to move this game to the Mumbai Cricket Association's BKC ground.

"I would not like to comment (on the matter). After getting 600 runs we thought we could win. Unfortunately, it did not happen," he said about the drawn match against UP in which close to 1200 runs were scored and not even three innings were completed.

"I am not a great reader of wickets. We have a balance.

Whatever (the) conditions, we should be able to play well and exploit. That's my funda(mental outlook). (There's) no point complaining," he added.

Mumbai would miss the services of lower order batsman cum seam bowler, Abhishek Nayar, who has undergone surgery in his palm and is out for a month, at the least.

He has been replaced by uncapped off spinner Ankush Jaiswal while talented player Jay Bista, fresh from a century in each innings in an under 23 game recently, is set to make his debut.

"Bista is likely to play," informed Pandit.

Railways, with just one win from six games, would need to play out of their skin to avoid a sixth defeat.

They don't have depth in either batting or bowling to trouble Mumbai and will depend on captain-cum-keeper Mahesh Rawat, in-form batsman Vairamudi Cheluvaraj (229 runs from 2 games) and new ball bowler Anureet Singh (27 wickets) to show the way.

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