Mumbai couldn’t have asked for a better start to their Ranji Trophy encounter. They crushed Baroda by 309 runs, their opener Prithvi Shaw got the third fastest Ranji double ton, the captain Suryakumar Yadav hit a breezy hundred, and importantly, with the spin department light on experience, the left-arm spinner Shams Mulani grabbed a 10-wicket match haul.
What was missing in their disastrous last season – they finished at the bottom of the group – was stability in batting. Now, they have found their swag as the star-studded team got six points for their efforts.
On the final day, Baroda, resuming on 74 for 3 and already limping as the first-innings centurion Kedar Devdhar was ruled out of the game due to injury, couldn’t do much. Devdhar was the last straw on the camel’s back, as it were. As Baroda was already missing their three full-time seamers, still recuperating from injuries suffered in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, and had to go into the game with an inexperienced bowling line-up.
And in Devdhar’s absence on the last day, it wasn’t a surprise when Mumbai just took little more than a session to complete the formalities. Baroda didn’t lack intent but on the fourth-day wearing pitch, the Mumbai spinners found turn and bounce to harass the batsmen.
Young Abhimanyu Rajput and Deepak Hooda did fight for a while, and even looked pretty solid as they reeled out a few boundaries. They added 81 runs and both were lucky to get a reprieve. Rajput was bowled by a no ball from medium-pacer Aakash Parkar while Hooda had hit straight back to Parkar, but the ball didn’t stick to the pacer’s hand.
Parkar who didn’t get a chance to bowl in first innings, was keen to leave a mark. He had Rajput trapped in front before deceiving Krunal Pandya to rearrange his stumps.
Yusuf Pathan was unlucky to be given out as the bat brushed his thigh pad and popped to short leg. Bharghav Bhatt tried to slog but missed it completely to give Mulani his third wicket. After reaching his fifty, Hooda attempted a sweep, only to see it balloon up for a simple catch to Yadav. Mulani struck next to pick up his fourth wicket when he had Soyeb Sopariya stumped by Aditya Tare to restrict Baroda to 224 runs in second innings.
Though the bowlers hogged limelight on the final day, it must be said that the win was set up by Prithvi Shaw and Jay Bista’s quick opening partnership in the second innings. That enabled Mumbai to set a target and give themselves sufficient time to bowl out Baroda. “The way they Shaw and Bista batted was very crucial because we needed 400 runs to declare,” the captain Suryakumar Yadav said. “If you win the first two games outright, it gives a big boost (to the Ranji campaign). The big plus point is beating Baroda at their home ground. Good momentum for us to go into our home game later in the month. The boys ticked all boxes in this game,” Yadav said. No one can argue with that.
Pathan livid at dismissal
Yusuf Pathan was so stunned at the wrong decision to give him out that he implored Ajinkya Rahane and other Mumbai players to intervene to have the decision reversed. Rahane and co. didn’t relent, and a few words were exchanged before Pathan eventually walked back.
Pathan had leaned forward to defend Shashank Attarde but the ball spun sharply, missed his bat, hit the thigh pad, and popped to short leg fielder Jay Bista. And the umpire Virendra Sharma responded favourably to the appeal from the close-in fielders.
A stunned Pathan didn’t budge, though, before he started to involve Rahane and Mumbai players ,telling them that they should let the umpire know that there was no bat involved. Pathan urged Mumbai players to show some sportsman spirit and had a few words with Rahane. Pathan hung around for a while before he trudged back in utter disappointment. At lunch break, Rahane came over to have a chat with Pathan to clear the air but Pathan wasn’t convinced with his arguments.
Brief Scores: Mumbai 431& 409/4 declared versus Baroda 307 & 224 (Deepak Hooda 61, Abhimanyu Singh Rajput 53; Shams Mulani 4-72). Mumbai won by 309 runs.
Points: Mumbai 6, Baroda 0
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