Mumbai emerge champions

Mumbai emerge champions

Mumbai players celebrate after winning the Vijay Hazare triphy at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

Mumbai enjoyed a lot of luck but showed plenty of pluck at the same time to clinch the rejigged one-day tournament for the Vijay Hazare Trophy for the first time.

Having restricted Delhi for a modest 177 for nine in 45.4 overs (Pawan Negi retired hurt) after opting to bowl first on a lively wicket, Mumbai made life difficult for themselves by slipping to 40 for four, which included the wickets of Prithvi Shaw and Ajinkya Rahane. But the fortuitous duo of Siddesh Lad (48, 68b, 4x4, 2x6) and Aditya Tare (71, 89b, 13x4, 1x6) neutralised the Delhi advantage with a counter-attacking stand of 105 runs off 138 balls to script a four-wicket win, reaching 180/6 in 35 overs here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.

With two teams with a storied rivalry clashing in the final, a mouthwatering duel was expected, and the presence of the largest gathering for a domestic match in recent times here stood testimony to that. Delhi’s performance with the bat, however, appeared to have dashed those hopes with Mumbai bowlers running circles around them. Given Mumbai’s batting might, one expected the chase to be a cakewalk for them but Navdeep Saini wasn’t going to just give up without a fight.

The paceman, extracting some movement off the pitch and working up good speeds, rattled Mumbai with a three-wicket burst in an impressive opening spell of 7-0-41-3. With Kulwant Kejroliya dismissing skipper Shreyas Iyer (7), who had been reprieved on zero off the same bowler, Mumbai found themselves in deep trouble.

Saini had Lad caught at point but on umpire’s review, he was found to have overstepped marginally. Equally fortunate was Tare who was caught on 30 behind the wickets off Subodh Bhati. Though the soft signal was out, third umpire Ulhas Gandhe, who had a busy day at office, deemed that the stumper had taken it off the turf. Four runs later, Tare was found short of crease when Bhati ‘deflected’ Lad’s straight drive on to the stumps at non-striker’s end. With replays inconclusive in showing that the ball had gone off Bhati’s shoe, Tare survived again.               

Despite these anxious moments, Mumbai never went into a shell. They didn’t miss out on scoring opportunities that slowly but surely transferred the pressure on to Delhi.

Earlier, Delhi were rattled by pacers Dhawal Kulkarni (3/30) and Tushar Deshpande (2/30) who made early inroads to justify Iyer’s decision to bowl first. The in-form Gambhir was the first to fall for Deshpande. His partner Unmukt Chand’s wretched run continued when the right-hander offered a catch to Rahane at point. After adding four more to the total, Manan Sharma became the second victim of Deshpande.

At 21/3, Delhi needed Dhruv Shorey (31) and Nitish Rana to revive the innings and the duo seemed to be doing just that when the latter decided to pull paceman Shivam Dubey. The intention was right but the execution wasn’t. Delhi again got some sort of momentum when Negi (21) cut loose with Himmat Singh (41, 65b, 4x4, 1x6) standing firm at the other end. The pair added 40 off 46 for the seventh wicket when Negi got hit on the back of right palm by Deshpande. Despite two treatments on the field, the all-rounder had to leave the field never to return. The scans later revealed a hairline fracture.