Jay Bista scored a sparkling century (104, 181m, 90b) in his Irani Cup debut match at the historic Brabourne Stadium and leaped into national limelight. Given the unpleasant treatment of being cast away to the under-23 team after the quarterfinal against Jharkhand because of his poor performance with the bat, the 20-year-old surpassed himself with a bright three-figure knock filled with many authentic strokes that raced to the fence.
Fresh from his double century in the u-23 final against Madhya Pradesh, Bista dominated the opening wicket partnership of 193 with another in-form batsman, left-hander Akhil Herwadkar, who missed his century by ten runs. It was Mumbai’s first century-plus partnership in the 12th and last multiple day match of the season. At stumps, Mumbai was 386 for 3 with Suryakumar Yadav (88 batting, 191m, 125b, 15 x 4s, 1 x 6) and skipper Aditya Tare (38 batting) raising 114 runs in an unbroken fourth wicket stand.
Once the openers laid a strong foundation, the middle-order batsmen Shreyas Iyer and Yadav took charge of the proceedings and impressed the national selectors Sandeep Patil, Vikram Rathour and Saba Karim, who watched Mumbai’s splendid work with the willow from the swanky Anandji Dossa Library at Cricket Club of India.
While it was a case of Iyer further reinforcing a point that he is the brightest talent in Indian cricket and looking for a national call, Yadav demonstrated he was no less gifted and showed a refreshing change in attitude to play the waiting game to accumulate runs.
With the Irani Cup eluding Mumbai for the past 17 years, Tare-led team gave sufficient hints that it would go all out against the Rest of India bowlers. Mumbai exacted a heavy toll of the bowling combination that the Rest of India captain Naman Ojha was given by the selectors. It did not have Railways’ Anureet Singh (32 wickets in the season) and Jharkhand left-arm spinner Shabaz Nadeem, who finished the Ranji Trophy league and knock out with 51 wickets — the highest by a bowler.
Left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat and Krishna Das tried their best to manipulate the seam of the shining ball and even managed to find edges that did not travel to the cordon, but young Bista was no mood to shy away from playing his natural game, especially on a surface that appeared a true featherbed. Quick to get into position, Bista chose the arc between square point and cover to pick up his boundary shots. Lucky to survive the pre-lunch session, Herwadkar (90, 198m, 148b, 15 x 4s) edged Undakat twice before he was caught at first slip by Faiz Fazal.
A big day in his career, Assam medium pacer dismissed Bista lbw after which Iyer hammered ten fours in his 49-ball 55 as the host began to show its batting depth. Mumbai scored at a little over 4.5 an over, which revealed the limitations of the RoI attack.
Mumbai: Akhil Herwadkar c Fazal b Rajpoot 90, Jay Bista lbw b Das 104, Shreyas Iyer c Bharat b Binny 55, Suryakumar Yadav batting 88, Aditya Tare batting 38; Extras (lb-9, w-2) 11,Total (for 3 wkts in 83 overs) 386; Fall of wkts: 1-193, 2-208, 3-272
Rest of India bowling: Jaydev Unadkat 14-1-66-1, Krishna Das 19-3-111-1, Ankit Rajpoot 17.4-4-73-1, Stuart Binny 14.2-2-45-1, Jayant Yadav 18-2-82-0
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