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How blissfully unaware Mumbai almost lost the plot

Blame it on the not-so-exciting nature of cricket on display,or the possibility of Mumbai not qualifying for the final despite scoring a mammoth 637-6...

Blame it on the not-so-exciting nature of cricket on display,or the possibility of Mumbai not qualifying for the final despite scoring a mammoth 637-6,the focus on Tuesday was neither on the familiar sight of Shitanshu Kotak playing a rearguard innings nor the innumerable lives that Jaydev Shah was enjoying.

It all seemed to be centred around the net run-rates of both teams leading up to the semi-final encounter,and just about how the Mumbai team management could have been so blissfully unaware of the playing conditions.

Contrary to captain Wasim Jaffer’s comments on Monday evening that his team would go for 750,it turned out that Saurashtra did not need to overhaul Mumbai’s mammoth total to enter the Ranji Trophy final,but only to ensure that they didn’t get bowled out in their first innings. Reason: Saurashtra had a superior run-rate leading up to the semi-final,and the conditions stipulated that that was enough to take them through if first innings was not concluded.

Coach Pravin Amre admitted on Tuesday that his team had been unaware of the situation the previous evening. “We were confused about the actual scenario. We thought it was the quotient that would matter,and ours was obviously much superior compared to Saurashtra’s,” he explained. Once the confusion was cleared,the team management decided to declare the innings at the overnight score,and look to bowl out Saurashtra rather than depending on things that weren’t in their control.

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“I don’t think this is fair on a team like us. We posted a number of outright wins in the league phase,and had a better quotient (total number of runs scored/ total number of wickets lost),which is what used to matter originally,” said Amre.

Surviving for two whole days against a bowling attack that comprised of Zaheer Khan,Ajit Agarkar,Dhawal Kulkarni and Ramesh Powar would have never been an easy task in any case. But if there was one hope that Saurashtra could cling on to,it was Kotak,who fell late in the day for 89. “Jaydev,Debu (coach) and I were aware of our net run-rate from the beginning,but I think Wasim wasn’t aware of the rules. I expected them to declare but if they would have continued batting today,we would tried our level best to not dismiss them,” Kotak quipped.

The Mumbai captain was unavailable for comment. Jaffer would obviously be hoping that his bowlers knock off the lower-order early on Wednesday,so that the focus shifts quickly away from his gaffe.

First published on: 07-01-2009 at 12:44:27 am
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