Mumbai close in on semis spot

The formidable Mumbai side are all but through to the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy after gaining a huge 242-run first innings lead against Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar stadium on Wednesday.

In reply to Madhya Pradesh’s first innings score of 192, Mumbai scored a commendable 434 in their first essay. The hosts, after an indifferent show in the first essay, performed better in the second innings finishing the day at 250 for three, thereby enjoying a slender eight-run lead with seven wickets in hand.

The effort from the likes of Naman Ojha (85 runs, 83 balls, 9x4, 4x6), Mohnish Mishra (61 n.o.) and Udit Birla (55 runs, 9x4) might have come a bit late in the match.

With only a day’s play left, it will either need a miracle from MP batsmen or an all out approach from Wasim Jaffer and co in order to have any other result than Mumbai’s safe passage to last four.

Starting the day at 346 for seven, Mumbai lost Kaustubh Pawar (161) with the addition of only seven runs. Pawar himself could only add a run to his overnight score before becoming Ishwar Pandey’s first victim.

However, Ankit Chavan (102 n.o.) showed loads of determination as he added 68 runs for the final wicket with Balwinder Singh Sandhu (24) as the lead swelled above 200. With nothing to lose, Ojha batted in his customary fashion, hitting the bowlers with utter disdain. The India discard was particularly severe on off-spinner Ramesh Powar hitting him for three consecutive sixes in one over. The other six was hit off Sandhu’s bowling. He added 121 runs in only 30.3 overs before he was snapped by skipper Jaffer off Chavan’s bowling.

Brief scores: At Hyderabad: Rajasthan: 421 all out vs Hyderabad: 144 all out in 55 overs (Dwaraka Ravi Teja 67, Arjun Yadav 42; Sumit Mathur 2-41, Vivek Yadav 2-39, Gajendra Singh 4-28) and 138/0 in 43 overs (Akshath Reddy 77 n.o., Dwaraka Ravi Teja 58 n.o.).
At Indore: Madhya Pradesh: 192 all out and 250/3 in 64 overs (Zafar Ali 33, Naman Ojha 85, Mohnish Mishra 61 n.o., Udit Birla 55) vs Mumbai: 434 all out in 146.4 overs (Kaustabh Pawar 161, Hiken Shah 41, Dhawal Kulkarni 40, Ankeet Chavan 102; TP Sudhindra 5-96, Ishwar Pandeyt 2-120, Murtaza Ali 2-26).

At Chennai: Maharashtra: 232 all out and 90/0 in 29 overs (Harshad Khadiwale 31 n.o., Chirag Khurana 55 n.o.) vs Tamil Nadu: 415 all out in 143.2 overs (Abhinav Mukund 95, Murali Vijay 79, Subramaniam Badrinath 49, Dinesh Karthik 30, Kuthethurshri Vasudevadas 36, Yomahesh 59, R Aushik Srinivas 31; Samad Fallah 3-80, Akshay Darekar 3-126, Ajinka Joshi 2-84).

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