December 24, 2013 1:59:38 am
It was a case of nervous 90s for Harshad Khadiwale as he once again fell short of reaching a ton. After scores of 87,74,97; the 25-year-old was out for 92 as Maharashtra take a 91-run first innings lead over Himachal at the MCA stadium at Gahunje,Pune. Giving him company for most part of the day was Ankeet Bawne,who scored 76.
Resuming overnight on 17,Khadiwale,began cautiously as the Himachal attack led by Rishi Dhawan and Vikramjeet Malik,moved the ball off the wicket as well as in the air. At the end of the day,Khadiwale said that patience was to key to succeed in these conditions. In his 184-ball essay,the right-hander left anything pitched on the fourth-stump and instead concentrated on keeping his bat as straight as possible. He was also helped by the butter-fingered Himachal fielders,Paras Dogra dropped a sitter at first-slip when Khadiwale was on 19 and in the next over,a skier popped out of Malik’s hands at fine-leg.
Taking advantage of drop
Khadiwale made the most of his reprieves,going into lunch having accumulated 59 off 111 balls,losing partner Sangram Atitkar,who made a quick-fire 49 off 56 balls on the last ball before the interval. After the break,Dhawan,the leading wicket-taker this season,got a good-length delivery to move off the wicket and take a healthy outside edge off Kedar Jadhav’s bat,to breathe some energy back into a flagging Himachal team. With Bawne joining Khadiwale,both batsmen hunkered down,bringing out a solid defensive screen stitching a 68-run partnership which took Maharashtra past Himachal and took the wind of Himachal’s sails.
Khadiwale finally perished for 92,trying to cut a Dhawan delivery,which was rather too close to his body. However,the 25-year-old became the highest run-getter of the season,notching up 865 runs in 11 innings at 86.50,43 runs ahead of Naman Ojha.
Brief score: Brief scores: HP: 228. Maharashtra: 319/4 (H Khadiwale 92,A Bawane 76 not out; R Dhawan 2/105).
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