It's clash of the titans
Twenty20 will witness the most high-voltage clash in its existence in India, as domestic cricket powerhouses Mumbai take on Bengal in a Group B.
In terms of hype value, its Sachin Tendulkar versus Sourav Ganguly.
Tendulkar has already blasted 150 runs in 81 balls in his three outings in this event so far, and will be looking to devour a Bengal attack against whom he took off a century in the Ranji final before going for an unsuccessful World Cup campaign.
Bengal’s new-ball bowlers Ranadeb Bose and Shib Shankar Paul are better than any of the attacks Tendulkar has faced so far in this event, so that gives the 33 year-old an opportunity to get practice against some sort of quality bowling before playing international cricket again.
Tendulkar’s flying starts have given Mumbai the match on a platter every time so far here, so Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary may bank on the experience of Sourav Ganguly to counter this imminent threat.
Ganguly has scored 26 and 10 in the two times he has gone in the middle, and each time he has looked good for more. The Prince of Kolkata would love to end his patchy run with a bang against Mumbai, and against a bowling line-up that includes Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar.
The two pillars of Indian cricket, running their last lap of their careers, have nothing left to prove in the game by now, except make the point that they are good enough in the game’s fast food version as well.
At another level, it will also be Rohit Sharma versus Manoj Tiwary. Both are a bundle of talent, are touted as the future of Indian cricket, and at an age where they wouldn’t want to be seen as inferior to each other.
How these match-ups shape out could decide the game, as well as the qualifiers for the final at CCI on Saturday from this group, given that both the teams, have scored two wins and lost a game each so far.
How well Mumbai’s pacers fare could be crucial as well. Zaheer and Agarkar have looked rusty, but Madhya Pradesh coach Balwinder Singh Sandhu says: “They aren’t putting too much effort in these games. They know when to raise their game.”