Mumbai has a habit of raising the bar when pushed into a corner. The manner in which Mumbai bowlers wound up Tripura's second innings and then the dashing openers wiped off the target of 63 runs in no time in fading light at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday to ensure a place in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals exemplified the trait.
Thanks to four-wicket hauls from seasoned pacer Dhawal Kulkarni and rookie left-arm spinner Karsh Kothari, Mumbai after declaring its innings overnight bowled Tripura out for 288. Prithvi Shaw scored an unbeaten 50 off 26 runs, which ensured that Mumbai earned a bonus with a 10-wicket win and finished the match on the penultimate day itself.
Scorecard and ball by ball details
It wasn't such a smooth sailing for Mumbai, though. In the absence of key pacer Shardul Thakur, unable to take the field having dislocated left collar bone while attempting a catch on the first day, Kulkarni stepped up to the platter. The seasoned pacer forced a nick off Samrat Singha during his four-over burst up front and then changed the ends to entice Udiyan Bose, who was striking the ball well, into a pull shot that landed straight to Suryakumar Yadav at deepish square-leg.
When Akash Parkar got the second ball after lunch to jag back in and shatter opener Bishal Ghosh's stumps, at 84 for three, Tripura was in danger of conceding an innings defeat. The onus was on professionals Smit Patel and Yashpal Singh to avoid a collapse. The combination of a promising youngster and a veteran for the rest of the afternoon session then dominated the Mumbai attack.
After trying out various options, captain Aditya Tare threw the ball to Jay Bista and the off-spinner did the trick by enticing Patel in a drive and getting through his defence. Kothari then came into play and dismissed Gurender Singh and Mura Singh off successive balls, either side of tea.
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Once a tiring Yashpal threw his wicket away, stepping out to Kothari to let Tare whip the bails away off a wide one, the tail wilted without much fuss.
A target of 63 wasn't going to test Mumbai but Shaw's cameo in fading light ensured that Mumbai got the additional day's rest. That Bista let Shaw reach his fifty before finishing the game off with an upper cut off Ajay Sarkar also displayed the camaraderie between the young duo.