Ranji Trophy: Herwadkar ton lifts Mumbai

Akhil Herwadkar, scoring his fifth century in 23rd first-class match, took a giant step to establish himself as a batsman of steel in the Mumbai factory of mentally strong cricketers.

ranji trophy mumbai baroda

He saw six partners leave the job to him before Akhil Herwadkar took a giant step to establish himself as a batsman of steel in the Mumbai factory of mentally strong cricketers. Of course, he fell 44 runs short of gaining the first innings lead against Baroda but Mumbai had the man for the moment in Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr).

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Mumbai crossed a big hurdle on Friday by taking the first innings lead after Baroda, resuming at 286 for nine, was all out for 305 this morning. Mumbai’s lead of eight runs with two wickets in hand at the end of the day was slender but the boost to the spirit of the team was enormous. It ensured the fare over the next two days would be intense since Baroda, a hugely competitive team, can be expected to roar back into reckoning.

From a precarious 104 for five Mumbai had secured the advantage to put pressure on the opponent to take the initiative in the remaining part of the Ranji Trophy contest at the Palam ground here.

The left-handed Herwadkar, 21 of age, showed maturity of a seasoned man, well endowed with the skills to overcome pressure. It was a challenge he endured with the flair that has marked his batting for some time now. Losing partners at the other end did not deter him and Herwadkar took the task upon himself, gathering runs and inspiring confidence at the other end.

The revival came with the sixth wicket partnership of 62 between Abhishek Nayar and Herwadkar, who has risen through the ranks. The job was accomplished by Sandhu, whose unbeaten 56 off 99 balls (five fours) was the driving force in the lower order. Nahar batted 70 balls and struck eight fours while Herwadkar faced 216 balls for his 106 with 18 fours.

This was Herwadkar’s fifth century in 23rd first-class match. “I told myself that it was important to play a long innings on a pitch like this to help the team. We were under pressure when we lost wickets in quick succession but we believe our tail-enders can make telling contributions. There is no point in not building on a good start,” he said.

For Baroda, seamer Sagar Mangalorkar bowled well to claim three wickets.