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Group leaders Punjab to take on revamped Mumbai

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The home team, third in the pool standings with 10 points from four games behind toppers Punjab (29 from 5) and Madhya Pradesh (11 from 4), would look for an outright victory for boosting their points tally in their quest to enter the knockout rounds as one of the three teams from the group.

Punjab, on a roll this season by winning four games out of five and certain to make the grade, would also be keen to beat the 39-time champions in their own den after losing to Mumbai by nine wickets in their previous match here.

The visiting team has been propped up by the return to the helm of Harbhajan Singh, released by the Indian team management in Kolkata to play this game along with Mumbai's Ajinkya Rahane.

Both of them failed to find a berth in the playing XI in the ongoing third Test against England.

Harbhajan would be fired up to get back to his best and ensure his berth in the playing XI for the fourth Test of the series in Nagpur commencing two days after the scheduled end of the Ranji game, marking his 100th Test.

In the off spinner's absence, after he had led the side to an innings' win over Hyderabad at home, Punjab have done outstandingly well.

But all their resounding victories have been recorded in their backyard at the Mohali stadium, and their only away game -- against Railways at Bhubaneswar -- had ended in a draw.

With the Mohali track traditionally helping medium pacers, Punjab's new ball trio Sandeep Sharma (29 wickets from five games and Siddharth Kaul (27 in 5) had reaped rich rewards along with Manpreet Gony (16 in 4).

But the Wankhede track may not offer as much assistance to the pace bowlers and Harbhajan would be needed to get into the wicket taking act in a big way along with his underperforming spin mates - leggie Rahul Sharma and left arm Bipul Sharma. (MORE)

First Published: Fri, December 07 2012. 12:05 IST