Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Mumbai-Gujarat match poised on knife's edge

Mumbai takes slender lead, only to lose quick wickets in second essay.

Siddhesh Lad is cleaned up by Chintan Gaja at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.   -  Vivek Bendre

It was an eventful third day’s play in the Ranji Trophy elite Group A clash between Mumbai and Gujarat at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday. First Dhruv Raval (99) was unlucky to miss a century but brought Gujarat close to overhauling Mumbai’s first innings total. Then Chintan Gaja staged Mumbai’s collapse before Aditya Tare’s impressive 59 (off 114balls, 8x4, 1x6) and his 58-run partnership with Shivam Dube (40 not out) helped the host regain ascendancy.

Mumbai — having attained a slender 16-run advantage after bowling Gujarat out for 281 — was 157 for seven in its second essay. While the lead has risen to 173, Mumbai isn’t yet safe.

When Tare walked out to bat eight minutes after lunch, Mumbai was precariously placed at 28 for four in its second essay. Siddhesh Lad had lost his stumps to a Gaja short ball keeping low. Jay Bista and Suryakumar Yadav missed straight balls to be trapped in front while Akhil Herwadkar offered catching practice to the cordon.

Chintan Gaja celebrates the fall of a Mumbai wicket at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

Tare soon lost Armaan Jaffer to leave Mumbai reeling at 41 for five.

Captain Dhawal Kulkarni promoted himself up the order, perhaps to shield the hard-hitting Dube from an on-song pace attack in conducive conditions. Kulkarni held one end up for 52 minutes before falling to an outstanding effort by captain Priyank Panchal — diving full length to his right at gully for a single-handed catch.

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Tare was undeterred and after Piyush Chawla at deep square-leg failed to judge a top-edge, he started batting freely. He drove and pulled with ease. Tare eventually perished with a soft lob to Chawla off young left-arm spinner Siddharth Desai in the last hour of play. Dube and debutant Dhrumil Matkar then added 33 before stumps.

Earlier in the morning, Raval’s brave effort gave Mumbai a scare. The wicketkeeper-batsman, despite losing Arzan Nagwaswalla within minutes of the start, combined farming the strike with finding gaps in the field to inch closer to his hundred and Mumbai’s total with last-man Desai for company. He finally was late on a cut to offer Tare a catch to end the innings.

The scores

Mumbai — 1st innings: 297.

Gujarat first innings: Kathan Patel c Tare b Kulkarni 28, Priyank Panchal c Tare b Dias 31, Bhargav Merai b Dube 4, Manprit Juneja c Tare b Dube 37, Rujul Bhatt c Jaffer b Bista 41, Dhruv Raval c Tare b Dube 99, Roosh Kalaria c Suryakumar b Dias 23, Piyush Chawla c Tare b Dias 1, Chintan Gaja lbw b Kulkarni 2, Arzan Nagwaswalla c Jaffer b Kulkarni 0, Siddharth Desai (not out) 5; Extras (lb-2, nb-2, w-6): 10; Total (in 99.4 overs): 28.

Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-60, 3-64, 4-131, 5-154, 6-214, 7-216, 8-232, 9-238.

Bowling: Kulkarni 24-9-71-3, Deshpande 7-1-23-0, Dias 25-5-74-3, Dube 24.4-8-50-3, Matkar 11-1-38-0, Bista 8-0-23-1.

Mumbai second innings: Akhil Herwadkar c Bhatt b Kalaria 10, Jay Bista lbw b Gaja 0, Siddhesh Lad b Gaja 17, Suryakumar Yadav lbw b Kalaria 1, Armaan Jaffer c Raval b Gaja 5, Aditya Tare c Chawla b Desai 59, Dhawal Kulkarni c Panchal b Gaja 6, Shivam Dube (batting) 40, Dhrumil Matkar (batting) 12; Extras (b-1, lb-6): 7; Total (for seven wickets, in 58 overs): 157.

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-18, 3-20, 4-28, 5-41, 6-66, 7-124.

Bowling: Kalaria 14-3-44-2, Gaja 22-7-50-4, Nagwaswalla 12-1-34-0, Desai 5-1-12-1, Bhatt 2-2-0-0, Chawla 3-0-10-0.