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Saurashtra take on Mumbai in key clash

The 37-time national champions need nothing less than an outright victory for entering the semi finals.

india Updated: Dec 24, 2007 13:57 IST

Holders Mumbai, without key pacemen Ajit Agarkar and Avishkar Salvi but bolstered by the recall of experienced spinner Nilesh Kulkarni, take on Group A leaders Saurashtra in their concluding Ranji Trophy Elite Division league tie in Mumbai from Tuesday.

The 37-time national champions need nothing less than an outright victory for entering the semi finals while the visitors would go through if they even get first innings points in a drawn encounter.

The hosts have had a tough time in their last two away ties, against Rajasthan at Jhalawer where they squeezed through for a last-ball victory, and against Himachal Pradesh at Dharamsala, where they gained only first innings points (3).

The visitors, on the other hand, are on a high after downing Maharashtra at Nagothane to surge to the lead.

While Saurashtra, with 20 points under their belt, would be keen to deny Mumbai any point, the latter have set their sights on an outright win with a bonus point to boot, if they can get it, which makes the four-day tie a potential humdinger.

Agarkar and Salvi are out of action with injuries which has considerably weakened the Mumbai attack.

The return of the 34-year-old Kulkarni, who will be playing his first match in the league, would certainly be a confidence booster for the hosts, with 18 points in the kitty, ahead of their must-win tie though he may be a bit rusty.

Kulkarni has been inducted in as replacement for teenager Iqbal Abdullah, who is not available for the tie after being chosen to represent the India under 19 team which is to visit South Africa from the 28th.