A daring Delhi will have to be at its best to upstage the mighty Mumbai when the traditional domestic powerhouses square off in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Saturday.
Both teams have their bases covered though Delhi has an upper hand in the pace department with Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya doing the job for the team in helpful conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Mumbai, on the other hand, has a star-studded batting line-up comprising Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw and in-form captain Shreyas Iyer.
With the firepower it possesses, Mumbai should not be missing the services of Rohit Sharma, who played the quarter-finals and semi-finals before joining the India ODI squad ahead of the West Indies series beginning on Sunday. Mumbai, which has won the tournament twice ever since it became a pan India affair, has cruised into the final having thrashed Bihar and Hyderabad in the quarters and semis respectively.
Pacers Dhawal Kulkarni and Tushar Deshpande have delivered in crunch moments and so has young left-arm spinner Shams Mulani, who is Mumbai’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 16 scalps.
Captain Iyer has led from the front, amassing 366 runs at an average of 122 including two hundreds and a fifty. Shaw has made his presence felt in the four games he has played so far, scoring 348 runs at 87 including a quick-fire 61 in the semi-finals.
However, it will be a test for it against Saini and Khejroliya. Both the Delhi pacers and rest of the team will be fired up for the final, considering it came out of nowhere to beat Jharkhand in the second final four clash. Gautam Gambhir-led side was on the brink of elimination before Pawan Negi, batting at number nine, played a sensible knock under severe pressure to take Delhi over the line in the final over of the match.
The in-form skipper, who missed out in the last game, will be expected to deliver again alongside Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana.
Gambhir’s opening partner Unmukt Chand has not yet fired in the knock-out stage and will be under pressure to perform in the all-important final. The likes of Pranshu Vijayaran and Lalit Yadav will also like to play their part in the summit clash.