Ever since he has taken over captaincy from an injured Dhawal Kulkarni mid-way through the season, Siddhesh Lad has had to try his best to defend an inexperienced bowling unit and an out-of-form batting lot. For once, the Mumbai captain was proud to have his team-mates give their best for a better part of the crucial Ranji Trophy game versus Saurashtra.
Not only did Mumbai salvage three points for the innings lead but it also converted a losing position after a brave declaration into a winning scenario to give table-topper Saurashtra a scare on the last-day evening. The game-changer was a move to reintroduce Minad Manjrekar into the attack with Saursashtra needing 55 runs off 10 overs and seven wickets in hand. And the lanky bowler delivered with a short-ball ploy to perfect in a spell that read 5-1-24-4.
“If they continued to have wickets in hand, the game would have gone their way, so I had a discussion with senior players (Shreyas) Iyer and (Aditya) Tare as to how we could get wickets,” Lad said.
“I thought we had got Sheldon (Jackson) in the first innings with the (short-ball) plan, and the boundary was far. So, we felt that if we went for the bouncer again, it would work. Minad is nippy and bowls with some pace. Luckily Minad executed what was discussed.”
Despite his team being unable to register what would have been a historic first win against Mumbai and returning home with a solitary point, Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat was thrilled with the topsy-turvy last day’s action. “Special game for sure, but a bit disappointed that we did not finish it off after giving a great effort in the fourth innings,” Unadkat said.
“Unfortunately, two set batsmen got out in over, which is where the match turned. Till my wicket, we had decided that we would go for the target. And we were not doing too much really, we were getting four-five runs an over anyway.”
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