Mumbai inch closer to Ranji S/F berth

Ankit Chavan scored his maiden first-class century for Mumbai Getty Images

Indore: Jan 4, 2012

The formidable Mumbai side is all but through to the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy after gaining a huge 242-run first innings lead against Madhya Pradesh, at the Holkar Stadium on Wednesday.

In reply to Madhya Pradesh’s first innings score of 192, Mumbai scored a commendable 434 in their first essay. The hosts after an indifferent show in the first essay, performed better in the second innings finishing the day at 250 for three, thereby enjoying a slender eight-run lead with seven wickets in hand.

The effort from the likes of Naman Ojha (85, 83 balls, 9×4, 4×6), Mohnish Mishra (61 batting) and Udit Birla (55, 9×4) might have come a wee bit late in the match.

With only a day’s play left, it will either need a miracle from MP batsmen or a harakiri from Wasim Jaffer and co in order to have any other result than Mumbai’s safe passage to last four.

Starting the day at 346 for seven, Mumbai lost Kaustubh Pawar (161) with the addition of only seven runs. Pawar himself could only add a run to his overnight score before becoming Ishwar Pandey’s first victim.

However Ankit Chavan (102 no) showed loads of determination as he added 68 runs for the final wicket with Balwinder Singh Sandhu (24) as the lead swelled above 200.

Chavan’s maiden first-class century consisted of nine fours and a six.

With nothing to lose, Ojha batted in his customary fashion tonking the bowlers with utter disdain. The India discard was particularly severe on off-spinner Ramesh Powar hitting him for three consecutive sixes in one over.

The other six was hit off Sandhu’s bowling. He added 121 runs in only 30.3 overs before he was snapped by skipper Jaffer off Chavan’s bowling. Zafar Ali (33) was taken Omkar Gurav off Powar’s bowling.

Mishra however played a stodgy knock and added 95 runs with Birla who was taken by ‘keeper Gurav off Surya Yadav’s bowling. (PTI)