Ranji Quarterfinal, Day Five: Mumbai beats Hyderabad

Mumbai made it to the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy after defeating Hyderabad by 30 runs despite a resistance by B. Anirudh.

Abhishek Nayar picked up five wickets in the second innings, after picking up four wickets in the first.   -  V. Ganesan

The Hyderabad lower order, especially C.V. Milind, hung around with B. Anirudh. But the duo couldn’t lead to what would have been remarkable victory against defending champion Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal. Riding on all-rounder Abhishek Nayar’s five-wicket haul, Mumbai registered a narrow 30-run win to set up a semifinal clash against Tamil Nadu.

Thanks to a middle order collapse at the fag end of the penultimate day’s proceedings, Hyderabad, resuming at 121 for seven, had a huge task to even get close to the target of 232 at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Cricket Stadium. But Anirudh and Milind negotiated the early burst quite well.

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With the wicket playing truer in the morning and the older ball not generating much movement, Shardul Thakur and Nayar couldn’t really ask too many questions of the batsmen up front. While Thakur gave way for in-form Vijay Gohil from the dressing room end, Nayar was replaced with offie Akshay Girap.

With the spinners coming on, the runs started flowing, with left-hander Milind earning two streaky boundaries through the third-man region off Gohil’s left-arm spin. Having crossed his fifty with a nudge, Anirudh then played a delightful punch down the ground off Tushar Deshpande, who had come in for Girap.

With the clock ticking and the scoreboard moving, the Mumbai camp started getting desperate. It reflected in captain Aditya Tare’s move to get part-time off-spinner Kevin Almeida into the attack in place of Gohil.

Eventually, Nayar came back for a second burst and broke the partnership in the fourth over after the drinks break. The swinger got the ball to move a little bit and Milind poked at for Tare to complete a regulation catch. Two balls later, Nayar rapped Mohammed Siraj on the pads to leave Hyderabad reeling at 185 for nine. With the target still 47 runs away and only last man M. Ravi Kiran for company, Anirudh had too much on his platter.

The sturdy left-hander, who had come in to bat at No. 3, was eventually left stranded with Kiran being dismissed in a near-identical manner to Milind soon after Anirudh had helped Hyderabad cross the 200-run mark.

The dismissal was followed up with a huge roar for Nayar and a fist pump, which appeared to be more as a relief than celebration, for having ensured a last-four place. Mumbai had to wait for 121 minutes in the morning, but in the end, the wait was worth it.

Over to Rajkot!

Man of the match: Abhishek Nayar