Ranji Trophy: Iyer century helps Mumbai scrape a draw

Shreyas Iyer exemplified Mumbai’s resilience to retain its undefeated record, as he scored a vigilant century to force a draw against Punjab, on the final day of the Ranji Trophy league match at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Saturday.

Shreyas Iyer survived this stumping attempt by Punjab wicket-keeperGeetansh Khera to score a century that saved Mumbai in the RanjiTrophy league match in Rajkot on Saturday.   -  Special Arrangement

Shreyas Iyer exemplified Mumbai’s resilience to retain its undefeated record, as he scored a vigilant century to force a draw against Punjab, on the final day of the Ranji Trophy league match at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Saturday.

After having been asked to follow-on, Mumbai was 283 runs behind Punjab’s total of 468. Mumbai ended at 227 for four in 116 overs when the teams agreed for a draw.

The 209-ball vigil by 21-year-old Shreyas came to an end when he was caught behind, while pushing forward to defend against Rajwinder Golu. Shreyas struck 14 fours and a six in his fine knock.

There was some hope for Punjab, but Suryakumar Yadav and Aditya Tare batted competently against a bowling that lacked the firepower to force Mumbai on the back foot. It was particularly so, as the Punjab spearhead Manpreet Gony, who took four wickets in the first innings, bowled only eight overs in the second.

In fact, after a 45-minute delay in the morning owing to a wet field following a sudden spell of heavy fog, it was evident early that the Punjab medium pacers would not be able to make much of an impact, on a pitch which still had good bounce but little else in it for them.

Moreover, the knowledgeable Punjab team was aware that the race for the qualifications spots was already over, as Mumbai, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were virtually assured of the quarterfinal berths from the group.

Thus, the team did not show any urge to force the matters. Mumbai was in no hurry and patiently negotiated 116 overs, scoring at 1.96 per over. In the first innings, the batsmen tried to score and had perished in a heap.

Suryakumar Yadav and skipper Aditya Tare faced 272 balls for their collective tally of 49 runs in the innings!

Even though Shreyas Iyer saved the match with his century, it was the Punjab century maker Mayank Siddana who was declared as the man of the match.

Mumbai took its tally to 30 points while Punjab ended with 21, with three points gained from the match for taking the first innings lead.