Having lost to Jamia Millia University in the first match of the Toyota University Cricket Championship on February 23 and then escaping with a last-ball win against Madras University, Mumbai University heaved a sigh of relief after their massive 151-run win against APS University, Rewa on Wednesday night. Stand-in captain Pradeep Jaiswal feels more than the big win, the form of Kevin D'Almeida and Shashank Singh will give Mumbai a huge boost ahead of the semifinal match against Jain University, Bengaluru here on Friday.
"I think Shashank's return to form after two failures and Kevin D'Almeida's back-to-back big knocks are just the good signs we needed before the next matches," Jaiswal said. "We needed this win (vs Rewa) and I think Kevin was outstanding," he added.
A 121-run second wicket partnership between D'Almeida and Singh helped Mumbai University amass a record 224 for four wickets. The left-handed D'Almeida hammered a 117 not out, only the third of the championship, and Singh scored a classy 60 off 37 balls.
"I think it was the perfect match we played so far, but we have to be on top of our game against Bengaluru. They are a very good side and we have to play good cricket. I am confident the boys will do that," Jaiswal said.
Mumbai will be wary of Jain University and with good reason. Mumbai lost to the Bengaluru boys by 82 runs in the two-day final of the Rohinton Baria tournament in January and knows the capability of the Jain University team. Jain skipper Kaunain Abbas will be a marked man in the Mumbai camp. Abbas has been in sensational form with the bat and is the TUCC's leading scorer with 246 runs.
Abbas is a confident man. The soft-spoken Bengaluru skipper, who has represented Karnataka A, feels Brabourne will give him and his boys another "great platform" to prove their mettle. "This tournament has given us a fabulous opportunity and the boys have taken it with both hands. But we have to do a bit more now," says Abbas.
So what will be his formula for success in the all-important game against Mumbai on Friday? "Just play the ball according to its merit. T20 doesn't mean slam-bag batting. Just bat sensibly and the runs will come," said Abbas.