Soon after their final Ranji Trophy league encounter against Karnataka ended, Mumbai players rushed to the dressing room, eager to check the outcome of the match between Madhya Pradesh and Bengal. An outright victory for Madhya Pradesh in Indore would have sealed Mumbai’s fate. Pravin Amre’s side needed Bengal to hold on, for the three points they earned from the first innings lead would take Mumbai to the knockouts.
Some nervous minutes passed as Bengal batted doggedly. Madhya Pradesh needed two more wickets to thwart Mumbai’s plans. But ultimately, those two wickets proved crucial and Mumbai, after a disastrous season, managed to sneak in to the last eight stage.
It was a busy day in Mumbai’s dressing room as they not only had to concentrate on their game, but also keep a tab on what’s happening in Indore and Vadodara, where Tamil Nadu defeated Baroda by 7 wickets to consolidate their second place in the group.
Amre wanted Karnataka to bat for nearly 60 overs so that Mumbai have a chance to go for an outright win. But with Mumbai’s top-order collapsing in a heap and the team reduced to 105 for five, the plan did not bear fruit. “We wanted to make sure that they bat 60 overs, but unfortunately we could not get off to a good start and we had to play safe,” Amre said.
Mumbai’s season started on the wrong note, losing to Jammu and Kashmir in the opener. They suffered an innings defeat to Tamil Nadu and in between also conceded points to Railways and Madhya Pradesh, both of whom got innings first innings leads.
Mumbai also witnessed a change in captaincy as Suryakumar Yadav was replaced by Aditya Iyer with a few matches to go. Amre, however, claimed a the knockouts would be different ball game. The only worry is that the team is likely to miss veteran batsman Wasim Jaffer in the next game.
Brief scores: Mumbai 436 & 223/8 decl in 57 overs (S Yadav 77*, U Patel 4/55) drew with Karnataka 415 & 110/1 in 33.2 overs (R Uthappa 44 n.o., K Kapoor 50 n.o.). Points: Mumbai 3; Karnataka 1.
J&K, Saurashtra relegated
Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Mumbai qualified for the quarterfinals from Group A while Delhi, Maharashtra and Vidarbha made it to the last eight stage from Group B. From Group C Assam and Andhra made it to the knockouts. However, Jammu and Kashmir and Saurashtra, who lost their last game against Orissa dropped down to Group C.