By Abhijit Banare
Mumbai: Jan 11, 2014
Vijay Zol credited the bowlers as Maharashtra knocked out Mumbai from the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy in the quarter-finals on January 11, 2014. Maharashtra cruised an eight-wicket victory over rivals and defending champions Mumbai on Day Four of the tie in Mumbai at Wankhede Stadium.
They have entered the semi-finals and will face the winner of the tie between Bengal and Railways.
“I credit the bowlers for this victory. When the chips were down, they bowled a good line and gave away nothing. It is a great learning experience. It is a big confidence booster for me personally,” said Zol.
Maharashtra had never beaten Mumbai in a knockout of the Ranji Trophy. Zol added 215 runs with Kedar Jadhav for the third wicket as they chased down a 252-run target with ease. Jadhav finished unbeaten on 120 and Zol was unbeaten on 91.
The duo began their partnership cautiously and accelerated towards the end. Zol said that they did not get carried away even when they crossed the 200-run mark.
“Kedar and I always kept talking that we need to take the team through. We were never relaxed and focused on the game till the last ball was bowled,” Zol said.
The left-hander missed out on a century by only nine runs, though, when asked whether he felt bad on missing out on a hundred he said, “Not really. Personal milestones never matter to me. I am really happy to contribute to the team when it was most needed.
“I am happy but not satisfied. I altered my game. The coach wanted me to play 140-150 balls. Everytime you come to Wankhede, the morning session is crucial.
“I just wanted to stay there and I knew in the afternoon session the wicket would ease up. With the quality of bowlers they had, things could have gone either way. But I was determined to take the team to 252.”
During the chase, Zol played some sparkling shots but it was Jadhav who helped him to stay in control. “With Kedar, you never need to worry about the run-rate. You can take your own time. With the experience he has, it really helped,” he said.
“He kept talking to me and said that I need to take the team through.”
Towards the end of the run-chase, Zaheer Khan had a word or two for the youngster and tried to disturb the batsman. Zol said he was unperturbed by Zaheer’s words. “I was surprised that he sledged me. I knew he wanted to unsettle me but I was very focused.”
Zol made Zaheer pay for the sledging by playing some attacking strokes. The left-hander though said that it wasn’t intentional. “I didn’t want to prove any statement. I was just seeing the ball really well. I just reacted to the way he bowled.”
Maharashtra’s semi-final will be played at Indore beginning on January 18. Zol said that he will continue to focus on Maharashtra’s campaign in the semi-final with the Under-19 World Cup ahead of him as well. “I am just concentrating on the next thing that is the semi-final and I will get ready for that.”
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