Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Elite Group A: Iyer, Lad tons flay Baroda attack

Shreyas Iyer slammed 11 sixes and 17 fours in a blistering knock of 178 and put on a double-century stand with skipper Siddhesh Lad, who made a responsible 130, to power Mumbai to an imposing score of 439 for 8 against Baroda on Friday.

Iyer, who landed here only Thursday from New Zealand after a stint with India A, was in punishing form, sparing no one from the visitors’ ranks to compile his 12th first class hundred in his first Ranji game of the season as he rescued the hosts from 28 for 2 with a stand of 283 in just over 45 overs with Lad on day one of the elite Group A game.

Hardik Pandya, back in competitive cricket after recovering from a back spasm that he suffered in the Asia Cup in UAE in September, had opened the bowling and rocked Mumbai with a two-wicket haul for 21 in his impressive comeback spell of six overs after Mumbai were put in to bat at the Wankhede Stadium.

Pandya’s cheap dismissals of openers Aditya Tare and newcomer Vikrant Auti had no effect on Iyer who went on a run-scoring spree to take the wind out of Baroda’s sails and place Mumbai, who are languishing in the 16th out of 18 spots on the points table, in a commanding position at stumps.

Iyer smacked left arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt for four sixes in three balls to race to his century in 86 balls and then singled out veteran Yusuf Pathan for similar punishment by carting the off-break bowler for three successive sixes. A more sedate Lad, who faced 173 balls and struck two sixes and 12 fours, denied Baroda a wicket for more than four hours spread over the first two sessions.

Pathan got his revenge by having Iyer caught at wide mid-wicket by Vishnu Solanki to end the third wicket stand but by then the visitors’ bowlers had been sent on a leather hunt by the Mumbai duo.

Mumbai, 148 for 2 at lunch, advanced to 333 for three at tea thanks to the belligerent knock of Iyer, and then Baroda grabbed five more wickets before stumps with Pandya snapping up one more victim, in-form all rounder Shivam Dube, to finish with end of day impressive figures of 3 for 74 in 15 overs. Bhatt picked up four wickets while Pathan was the other successful bowler.

Brief Scores: Mumbai 439 for 8 (Shreyas Iyer 178, Siddhesh Lad 130; Bhargav Bhatt 4 for 68, Hardik Pandya 3 for 74) against Baroda.