Madhya Pradesh vs Mumbai: Preview and Prediction￼
Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai will compete in the all-important final of the 2021/22 edition of the Ranji Trophy. The match will begin on Wednesday and will be played at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
This match will be a golden opportunity for Madhya Pradesh to reclaim lost glory, as they have made it to the final for the first time since 1999. Aditya Shrivastava’s men are unbeaten so far in this competition and have beaten many big teams, including Punjab and Bengal.
Mumbai, on the other hand, has always been the powerhouse in Indian domestic cricket, having won the Ranji Trophy a record 41 times. That being said, it has to be noted that their last triumph was back in 2016, and a drought of six years is not what fans are used to seeing with Mumbai. Hence, Prithvi Shaw’s team will leave no stone unturned to lift the silverware this time around.
What have they done so far?
Madhya Pradesh had an impressive group stage campaign, where they won two matches and played out one stalemate to secure pole position in their ground. They started their journey with triumphs over Gujarat and Meghalaya, before Kerala brought an end to their winning streak.
However, the four-time champions have been unstoppable in the knockout stages. Madhya Pradesh defeated a star-studded Punjab team by 10 wickets in the quarter-final, while in the semis, they handed a high-flying Bengal a 174-run drubbing.
Like their opposition, Mumbai too won two and drew one of their group stage matches to secure first place in their group. They started off with a draw against Saurashtra but then defeated Goa and Odisha pretty comfortably.
In the quarter-final, Mumbai was up against a spirited Uttarakhand team who did well to make it to that stage but were handed a humbling 725-run defeat by Shaw’s men. Mumbai then faced Uttar Pradesh in the semi-finals, whom they did not manage to beat, but a first-innings lead was enough to make it to the final.
Kumar Kartikeya: Kumar Kartikeya, who recently became a household name for his 2022 Indian Premier League stint with the Mumbai Indians, is the trump card for Madhya Pradesh. While no other bowler from his team has managed to reach the 20-wicket mark, he alone has 27 scalps to his name.
The 24-year-old left-arm pacer has maintained an average of only 16.33, whilst he has three five-wicket hauls to his name. One of those five-wicket hauls came in the second innings of the last match against Bengal, while he also picked up three wickets in the first innings.
Sarfaraz Khan: When it comes to Mumbai, there are a lot of star players to choose from, with the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Dhawal Kulkarni all being in a good rhythm. However, the cricketer who has eclipsed not only his teammates but arguably everyone else in this competition is Sarfaraz Khan.
The 24-year-old is having a campaign that he will cherish for a long time, having scored 803 runs at an exceptional average of 133.83. Sarfaraz has three centuries and a couple of half-centuries to his name, with his last century coming in the quarter-final clash against Uttarakhand.
Predicted Playing XI
Madhya Pradesh: Yash Dubey, Himanshu Mantri (wk), Shubham S Sharma, Rajat Patidar, Aditya Shrivastava (c), Akshat Raghuwanshi, Saransh Jain, Kumar Kartikeya, Puneet Datey, Anubhav Agarwal, Gaurav Yadav.
Mumbai: Prithvi Shaw (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Armaan Jaffer, Suved Parkar, Sarfaraz Khan, Hardik Tamore (wk), Shams Mulani, Tanush Kotian, Tushar Deshpande, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohit Avasthi.
Madhya Pradesh has certainly done a fine job to make it this far into the competition, and it will be fair to say that on occasions, they have punched above their weights. However, Mumbai has a plethora of match-winners in their squad and almost every one of them has the momentum to bank on. This fact, coupled with Mumbai’s records in this competition, makes them the favourite to lift their 42nd Ranji Trophy title.