Domestic heavyweights Mumbai take on Madhya Pradesh in the final of the Ranji Trophy 2022 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, starting from Wednesday.
The Prithvi Shaw-led Mumbai are chasing a record 42nd Ranji Trophy title while Madhya Pradesh under skipper Aditya Shrivastava will be playing their second final in Ranji Trophy history.
The last time Madhya Pradesh qualified for the final was way back in 1998-99 when they lost to Karnataka at the M Chinnaswamy in Bengaluru. But, this time, head coach Chandrakant Pandit will look to script history when his boys take on the mighty Mumbai.
Pandit is a domestic stalwart who guided Mumbai to two consecutive Ranji Trophy triumphs in 2003 and 2004. And this time, the seasoned coach will aim to inspire a young Madhya Pradesh side, who have been impressive with their aggressive style of play.
On paper, the Mumbai team is the overwhelming favourite and head coach Amol Muzumdar will be wary of the fact that his side can't afford to take the opposition lightly.
Mumbai have been all class this season with Sarfaraz Khan smashing 800-plus runs in just five games.
Yashasvi Jaiswal is having a fabulous time in whites with three centuries in four innings and those have come in the quarterfinal and semifinal. The youngster who shines in the pink jersey of Rajasthan Royals in the IPL showed he has the skill and the ability to score runs in red ball cricket.
Skipper Shaw is in good touch and his ability to take the attack to the opposition makes him a deadly opener. The Madhya Pradesh pace batteries will relish the challenge as Shaw has the capability to take the game away but in the process can gift his wicket.
Arman Jaffer has all the ingredients of becoming a match-winner and it will be good for him if he could achieve even half of what his illustrious uncle Wasim did.
Add to it the likes of Suved Parkar or Hardik Tamore, who knew the opportunity of wearing the Lion's crest on the white flannels come at a premium.
Mumbai have always had formidable batting line-ups that can scare the opposition team but this time the two under-rated performers have been left-arm spinner Shams Mulani (37 wickets and 292 runs) and off-spinner Tanush Kotian (18 wickets and 236 runs).
Mulani or Kotian are by the farthest stretch of imagination not India prospects or even India 'A' contenders but they are a rare breed of domestic performers who know how to win crunch games as they did against Goa in a do-or-die situation.
However, Madhya Pradesh is one of the most improved teams in recent times and under Pandit inculcated the discipline that's needed to reach the summit clash in a tournament like Ranji Trophy.
Missing Venkatesh Iyer in batting and pace spearhead Avesh Khan in bowling didn't do them any good but unheralded Kumar Kartikeya, with his stamina to bowl for hours, has done the job for his team.
In this team, there is only one player who is true blue talent and that's Rajat Patidar.
For Mumbai, it will be imperative to ensure that Patidar doesn't walk away with the game in one session with his wide array of strokes.
MP, with its two spinners in Kartikeya and Saransh Jain, will like to play the waiting game, something that Pandit as a coach has injected in his wards across the states.
It would be a game of chess played on 22 yards but enticing enough for all those who get to watch it.
Madhya Pradesh Squad: Aditya Shrivastava (c), Rajat Patidar, Anubhav Agarwal, Arshad Khan, Puneet Datey, Yash Dubey, Gaurav Yadav, Mihir Hirwani, Saransh Jain, Kumar Kartikeya, Himanshu Mantri, Ishwar Pandey, Rameez Khan, Ajay Rohera, Parth Sahani, Kuldeep Sen, Shubham S Sharma, Rakesh Thakur, Akshat Raghuwanshi
Mumbai Squad: Prithvi Shaw (c), Aman Hakim Khan, Armaan Jaffer, Shashank Attarde, Mohit Avasthi, Royston Dias, Shivam Dube, Aakarshit Gomel, Sarfaraz Khan, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tanush Kotian, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shams Mulani, Ajinkya Rahane, Prashant Solanki, Siddharth Raut, Hardik Tamore, Aditya Tare, Arjun Tendulkar, Sachin Yadav, Bhupen Lalwani, Suved Parkar, Sairaj Patil, Dhrumil Matkar, Tushar Deshpande
Match Starts at 9:30 AM