Mumbai, Nov 30 (UNI) The defending champions will be looking to put in a much improved performance than that it had displayed against Delhi when they clash against their traditional rivals Maharashtra in the fourth round match of the Ranji Trophy Elite Division Group 'A' match beginning at the Wankhede stadium here tomorrow.
The domestic ''War of Roses'' has taken an extra edge with the visitors leading the table with 12 points and Mumbai needing a lot of catching up to do.
Mumbai have nine points and are joint third in the table with Saurashtra behind leaders Maharashtra and Delhi (11).
With Karnataka breathing down the neck of front runners after tallying eight points, the battle between Mumbai and Maharashtra might just be a deciding game for the knock-out round.
Both sides are missing some key members who have done duty earlier in the season, but the absence of pace spearhead Munaf Patel could hit Maharashtra harder than that of opener Wasim Jaffer for Mumbai.
Jaffer's sheet-anchoring role has been taken up splendidly by 22-year-old youngster Sahil Kukreja who impressed with his splendid knock of 199 against Delhi in the second innings to ensure one point for Mumbai.
It remains to be seen whether the inexperienced pace attack of the visitors can trouble the solid home team batting line up, which includes captain Amol Muzumdar and Rohit Sharma, and the hard-hitting Abhishek Nair.
Maharashtra also have a lot of inexperienced players with them having blooded as many as seven youngsters in the team so far.
Captain Venugopal Rao and veteran leg spinner Sairaj Bahutule are the experienced players in the team and the batting and bowling respectively will revolve around them.
Also with Bahutule having played most of his cricket for Mumbai, he will be knowing the Wankhede stadium pitch inside out which could help him while bowling to the Mumbai batsmen.