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Saurashtra hoping to bat Mumbai out in Ranji final

January 25, 2013 17:06 IST

They may be playing in their first Ranji Trophy final in 75 years, and against a team that has 39 titles in its kitty; but Saurashtra aren't getting intimidated by their opponents' credentials.

Instead, they are plotting to upset Mumbai’s applecart in its own backyard, the Wankhede stadium.

- Mumbai seek 40th title, Saurashtra first

Their game plan seems fairly simple: bat the multiple champions out of the game if they win the toss.

"We would like to get a good start and put in our best effort in the first innings," explained captain Jaydev Shah, adding, "You always need to score big runs against Mumbai and then put pressure at the start.

"For, if they don't get a good start, they sometimes tend to collapse. If we take a few crucial wickets in between and hold them out it will be good for us." 

Having said that Saurashtra’s captain admitted it is easier said than done. 

"It's a very big game for us, because Mumbai is an experienced side," said Shah. 

Mumbai, on the other hand, are expectedly confident ahead of the decider, considering they have home advantage. However, they are not taking their opponents lightly.

"Saurashtra, obviously, is a very tough opposition and we cannot underestimate them," explained captain Ajit Agarkar, who has been on the winning side in all the six finals he has played.

"It's a one-off game and anything can happen. So we need to be at our best," he added.

Mumbai, who are in their 44th final, will be gunning for their 40th title, and first since 2009-10. Moreover, they have not in the final in more than two decades, Haryana having handed them the last of their four final defeats back in 1990-91.

However, things have been anything but easy for Agarkar's side.

Having managed just one outright win - against Madhya Pradesh - in the group stage, Mumbai benefited from their superior experience in the two knock-out matches that followed, with their reputation also working in their favour. 

Agarkar's palpably relieved the team made its way to the decider, as also the fact that they would be playing on home conditions.

"I am very happy with the way it has gone for us, from struggling a bit to qualifying and being in the final," he said, adding, "We will give it our best shot."

Bikash Mohapatra