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Weather could play a role as hosts eye strong finish

Unlike international matches, where a match is abandoned in case of inclement weather, teams in the Ranji Trophy get a point each in case play is not possible. The rule sometimes deals a cruel blow to sides struggling for knockout berths.

cricket Updated: Dec 13, 2011 02:32 IST
Sharad Deep

Unlike international matches, where a match is abandoned in case of inclement weather, teams in the Ranji Trophy get a point each in case play is not possible. The rule sometimes deals a cruel blow to sides struggling for knockout berths.

On Monday, the impact of fog was felt by Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai on the eve of their crucial Elite Group 'A' tie.

"I expect a late start and early finish every day. If the situation continues, it would be tough for both teams to force a result," said UP coach, Gyanendra Pandey.

Pandey's worry is understandable as the former champions are fourth on the table with 12 points. They need at least three points from this match to stay in contention for a knockout berth before their last game against table leaders Karnataka.

"Except for our last match against the Railways, we have been doing well and if we manage to score an outright win here, it would be a big achievement. Moreover, Suresh Raina's presence is a big plus," he said.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/13-12-pg20a.jpg

Though worried about the weather, Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer agreed that a win was his team's main goal.

"UP are a good side at home. Though we're miss key players like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Zaheer Khan, we would like to earn as many points as we can as we aren't assured of a berth in the knockout round despite having 17 points from five matches.

"But even in the absence of key players, we are a balanced side and are capable of excelling even in difficult situations," he added.

Mumbai have conceded the first innings lead twice this season. They managed to avoid defeats against Karnataka and Saurashtra and had to be satisfied with one point each.

The trend is a worry for the 39-time champions.