Mumbai spinners stifle Jharkhand to 150 for eight

Mumbai drove a dagger into the heart of the Jharkhand dream by reducing it to 150 for eight at stumps on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the SDNR Wadiyar Stadium here on Thursday.

Abhishek Nayar's 74 helped Mumbai push on to a big score. They eventually posted 416 before being bowled out.   -  K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Mumbai drove a dagger into the heart of the Jharkhand dream by reducing it to 150 for eight at stumps on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the SDNR Wadiyar Stadium here on Thursday.

Playing only its second-ever knock-out match, Jharkhand was up against a huge first innings score of 416. But for a miracle on days three, four and five, it will have to resign itself to the fate of a second quarterfinal finish in four years.

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Jharkhand did start quite well as the opening pair of S. P. Gautam and Anand Singh put on 46 runs. But paceman Shardul Thakur, introduced rather late in the 15th over, struck with his second ball forcing Gautam to edge to first slip.

After skipper Abhishek Nayar dismissed Anand, also in his very first over, the spin duo of Iqbal Abdullah and part-timer Akhil Herwadkar took charge. The two bowled a not-so-spectacular but stifling line and finished with figures of 20-5-39-3 and 11-2-26-3 respectively.

Herwadkar’s was in particular a crucial intervention, for the caught and bowled effort of key batsman Saurabh Tiwary sucked out whatever hope Jharkhand had of upstaging the total.

Early in the morning, Nayar flirted with danger – an uppish drive towards cover and an attempted glide past the second slip just about evading the fielders. He was even dropped on 50 by Jaskaran Singh at point.

But he was way more positive than on the first day; a clip off his legs and a fierce cut for boundaries and a loft over midwicket for six evidence of the same. In the first hour, Mumbai added 51 runs for the loss of just one wicket. What was the slightest of advantages at the end of day one had swelled into something substantial.

By the time Mumbai was bowled out, another 62 runs were added at more than four an over. Abdullah made an almost run-a-ball 33 to complement Nayar (74, 167b, 7x4, 1x6). It was enough for the scoreboard pressure to take effect and it did so tellingly.

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