Indore: Gujarat, eyeing their maiden title, will pose a stiff challenge for record champions Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy final beginning at the Holkar Stadium here Tuesday.
Both Mumbai and Gujarat go into the title clash in high spirits, having overcome a fighting Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand, respectively, in the semi-finals.
While 41 times champions Mumbai are the favourites, it will be a stern test of character for Gujarat who are in their first final in 66 years with the baggage of never winning the prestigious domestic tournament.
However, Gujarat have given enough signs that they are a team improving gradually, having won the Vijay Hazare last season and Syed Mushtaq Ali in 2012-13.
If Gujarat can display the same courage and determination that got them out of the woods earlier in the tournament, they have a fair chance of stopping defending champions Mumbai from pocketing another title.
The Parthiv Patel-led side has already suffered a blow with their frontline pacer Jasprit Bumrah being unavailable for the big game due to national commitments. The 23-year-old needs to be in Pune ahead of the first ODI against England on January 15.
Bumrah alongside veteran pacer RP Singh were the stand out bowlers in the semi-final against Jharkhand.
The youngster's career-best six for 29 in the second innings paved the way for a 123-run victory after Gujarat had conceded the first innings lead.
In Bumrah's absence, Mehul Patel, who has taken six wickets in three matches this season, is expected to share the workload with RP and Rush Kalaria.