Mumbais 21-year old one-drop Kaustubh Pawar played the innings of his novice career,batting through Day Two to haul his depleted side out of trouble against Madhya Pradesh in the quarterfinal at the Holkar Stadium,Indore. Pawars unbeaten 160 took Mumbai,who were reeling at 60 for five in reply to MPs 192 on the first day,to a commanding 346 for seven at stumps.
To put the knock in perspective,it came on a track where the pacers had claimed all the 15 wickets that fell on Day One,and against the likes of TP Sudhindra (four for 78),the leading wicket-taker this season. As opposed to the more flamboyant or stylish occupants of the Mumbai batting order,Pawar,who is in his debut season and is only eleven innings old,prefers to grind and be patient. It was evidenced by the number of balls he left untouched,waiting for the bowlers to bowl in his areas rather than chase deliveries outside off stump.
Though Sudhindra kept the ball in the channel,Pawar had no trouble shouldering arms until the poor ball arrived. His waiting game paid off,with the 322-ball effort being graced by 19 hits to the fence.
Pawar,who eschewed hitting in the air as a rule,seemed to possess all the attributes of an innings-builder. I was always not very comfortable with hitting out. For that I will have to reach for the ball,so I used to leave them. It started to work for me and I started to play long innings, Pawar said,who had,last season,batted ten hours for the Mumbai under-22 side against Karnataka.
Though MP finished the day conceding the first innings lead,finding itself 154 runs behind,the day started with the home side having the upper hand. Wickets proved elusive,but MP kept the scoring in check (Mumbai only made 70 in 34 overs early on) and when go-to man Sudhindra prised out Hiken Shah (41),Mumbai was still 53 behind with only four wickets left.
However,MP could not find the penetration in its bowling,as the tail,in the company of Pawar,flourished. The No. 3 found able support from Dhawal Kulkarni (40) first,and later from Ankeet Chavan (57 batting),adding 79 and an unbeaten 127 respectively. MPs beleaguered attack could claim only three wickets all day and will now have a fight on their hands if they are to make anything of this match.
With Chavan looking composed,and the feisty Ramesh Powar to come,the youngster would set his sights on a double hundred,which would shut the door firmly on the home side.
BRIEF SCORES: Madhya Pradesh 192 vs. Mumbai 346 for seven (Kaustubh Pawar batting 160,Ankeet Chavan batting 57,Hiken Shah 41,TP Sudhindra four for 78,Murtaza Ali two for 17)