Mumbai will be led by pacer Dhawal Kulkarni. @ Getty Images
Mumbai will be led by pacer Dhawal Kulkarni. @ Getty Images

Mumbai: Domestic giants Mumbai will be eyeing their maiden win of this Ranji Trophy 2018-19 season, when they take on Gujarat in an Elite Group A game at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.

Mumbai, 41-time Ranji champions, have played two games this season – one against Railways in New Delhi and another against Karnataka in Belgaum — both the games ended in a draw.

While Mumbai took the first innings lead against Railways and grabbed three points, they settled for a point against Karnataka after conceding the first innings lead.

Thus, when the players led by pacer Dhawal Kulkarni take the field at their home turf, they are expected to strive for an outright win.

Despite the absence of key players like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer, who are on national duty, Mumbai still have depth in their batting.

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For the hosts, openers Akhil Herwadkar and Jay Bista, ‘crisis man’ Siddhesh Lad and experienced duo of wicket-keeper batsman Aditya Tare and Surya Kumar Yadav, need to fire big.

Young batsman Armaan Jaffer, who is making a comeback to the Ranji Trophy squad after hitting a triple hundred in an U-23 match, will be looking to make most of the opportunity, if he given a chance in the final eleven.

Mumbai coach Vinayak Samant would be pleased with the performance of all-rounder Shivam Dubey, who is among runs and also taking wickets.

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Dubey’s role will be crucial and he would like to continue from where he left in Belgaum. The medium-pacer picked seven wickets in the first essay.

On the bowling front, Mumbai have a potent attack with likes of Dhawal and medium pacer Tushar Deshpande and spinners Karsh Kothari and Dhurmil Matkar.

On the other hand, Gujarat, who tasted victory in their first game against Baroda, will also be looking to get back to winning ways.

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In their opening match of the season, Gujarat thrashed Baroda by nine wickets, but then settled for two consecutive drawn matches, against Chhattisgarh and Saurashtra respectively.

In other Group A encounters beginning on Wednesday, Chhattisgarh take on reigning champions Vidarbha at Raipur, Karnataka clash with Maharashtra in Mysuru while Saurashtra will battle it out against Baroda in Rajkot.