Ranji Trophy 2022: Mumbai up against fearless UP in semis | Cricket News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Creating history or chasing records is nothing new for Mumbai. Winning the Ranji Trophy on a jaw-dropping 41 occasions is no mean feat. But when they take on Uttar Pradesh in the semifinals, Mumbai will be up against a team which is not just looking at carving out a niche for itself but playing a fearless brand of cricket.
When the two teams face each other at the Just Cricket ground here starting on Tuesday, the Amol Muzumdar-coached side go into the contest on the back of a record-shattering 725-run quarterfinal win over Uttarakhand.
UP, led by a young Karan Sharma, cared little for their opposition’s form or reputation, a point they proved against Karnataka in their last-8 tie. Having conceded the first innings lead, they battled to a five-wicket win in the quarterfinals. And, having come this far, they will be keen to go the distance.
Mumbai’s batting line-up can trouble the best of bowling units. For a team which bats deep, skipper Prithvi Shaw and Yashasvi Jaiswal open the innings with Armaan Jaffer and Suved Parkar coming in after them. All of them have at least one century to their name this season. Sarfaraz Khan is on a roll with 704 runs in five innings which includes three centuries.
Dhawal Kulkarni and Tushar Deshpande lend experience to Mumbai’s pace attack but the focus will be on spin duo Shams Mulani (37 wickets) and Tanush Kotian (15 wickets).
UP will have to put everything on the line to overcome the resurgent Mumbai outfit.
The match will be played on a fresh pitch which is likely to aid pacers initially. That is good news for Ankit Rajpoot and his new-ball partner, left-arm fast bowler Yash Dayal, who have done well in the tournament. The hard deck with variable bounce is expected to turn by the third day. But, with no rain predicted, the in-form left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar could get assistance early on.
UP have added left-arm pacer Mohsin Khan, who turned on the heat in the IPL to the line-up. But the 23-year-old is relatively untested in red-ball cricket having featured in a lone Ranji fixture. Although they have Rinku Singh and Priyam Garg, their consistency and inability to convert starts will be a cause for concern for UP’s batting order.
Amol Muzumdar, Mumbai coach
Every game this season has been something special. We haven’t looked beyond one game and prepared accordingly. Every game this season has been a must-win, so instead of looking at it as a semifinal, we are just treating it as another game and preparing accordingly. It is evident that they have a strong bowling attack. There’s no doubt about it. They have played some good cricket. That’s the reason they are in the semifinals. We need to respect that. We need to show that kind of respect to all their bowlers. But as I said, we are internally focused. Just don’t want to focus on one particular area. I just want to give the boys that freedom of thinking on their own.
Vijay Dahiya, UP head coach
They don’t know what that big-match pressure is. And to be honest, when I look around, it’s a clean slate. It’s in their hands to write their own destiny. You have to be in the knockouts to understand the demands of a knockout game. And five-day games always give you an option to come back. It always gives you a chance to come back. We saw that against Karnataka when we were 98 runs behind. These are the things they need to learn, that you are always in the game. I believe with so many people getting exposure in IPL and other cricket, it all comes down to 11 versus 11 rather than anything else.

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