Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Timeless Jaffer puts Vidarbha on top against former team

Vidarbha ended day one at 389 for four thanks to a classy 178 from Wasim Jaffer and his 199-run partnership with teenager Atharva Taide.

Vidarbha's Wasim Jaffer scored a century in his first match against his former team Mumbai.   -  S. Sudarshan

For most of his 23 seasons in first-class cricket, Mumbai camp had enjoyed Wasim Jaffer toy with the opposition. In his first appearance against his alma mater, the stalwart meted out the same treatment to Mumbai’s attack to put Vidarbha on top in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group A tie.

Thanks to Jaffer’s (178, 196b, 22x4, 2x6) astonishing innings, his 199-run partnership with rookie opener Atharva Taide (95, 128b, 15x4) and Ganesh Satish’s unbeaten 77 (125b, 4x4, 1x6), Vidarbha ended day one at 389 for four at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha.

As it happened: Ranji Trophy Round 8, Day 1

With a flat pitch that’s likely to offer turn later in the game, Faiz Fazal won an important toss. But the Vidarbha captain fell prey to a trap set up by speedster Shardul Thakur as he drove one straight to short point in the fifth over. That brought Jaffer in and he left the sparse crowd spellbound for the next 278 minutes.

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Teenager Taide - the left-handed opener who wasn’t even born when Jaffer made his international debut - cut loose before Jaffer, enjoying the pace of Thakur and Tushar Deshpande. While both the pacers returning from injury bowled an inspiring spell first up, the moment they erred in length or line, Taide and Jaffer made them pay heavily.

Jaffer joined the boundary spree, hitting two trademark flicks followed by a cut through the cordon off Thakur in the 11th over. Had Shubham Ranjane not spilled an edge off Taide’s willow (on 29) off Deshpande in the next over, Mumbai could have possibly bounced back.

Jaffer Juggernaut

Wasim Jaffer had scored 139 for Mumbai versus Vidarbha in the only previous meeting between the teams in 2013. Switching teams, he scored 178 in the next encounter between Mumbai and Vidarbha.

Jaffer joined Vijay Manjrekar as only the second Mumbai player to have hit a Ranji hundred against Mumbai. Manjrekar had scored 108 for Rajasthan in the 1962-63 final.

Jaffer’s 58th first-class hundred was his 39th in Ranji Trophy and fifth for Vidarbha.

 

But once both the bowlers were replaced after six overs each, Jaffer and Taide made a feast of some ordinary bowling till lunch. Shivam Dube couldn’t find his rhythm and the spin duo of Dhrumil Matkar and Tanush Kotian was welcomed with drives and cuts to the fence. As a result, captain Siddhesh Lad had to try out six different bowlers in the first 20 overs.

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With Jaffer at his finest and loose balls in plenty, Jaffer was just two runs short of his hundred at lunch and Vidarbha had raced to 171 for one off just 32 overs. He reached the milestone when he steered the second ball after the break to third-man and ended the afternoon session by reaching 150.

Taide missed out on his maiden ton as he missed a sweep off a straight ball from left-arm spinner Matkar.

Matkar brought Mumbai back into the game with two wickets against the run of play in the evening session. Jaffer was dismissed two balls after tonking a straight six, as he inside-edged one on to his pad and keeper Aditya Tare held the ball between his legs. Matkar then drew Akshay Wadkar forward and the ball sneaked through the gap between his bat and pad.

Satish and another rookie, Mohit Kale, saw off Deshpande’s reverse-swing to ensure Vidarbha stayed on top.

At Nagpur

Vidarbha 389 for four in 90 overs (Atharva Taide 95, Wasim Jaffer 178, Ganesh Satish 77 batting) vs Mumbai.

Toss: Vidarbha.