Ranji Trophy: Mumbai knocked out, Saurashtra sails into quarters

Kamlesh Makwana (31, 116b, 5x4) and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (33, 125b, 5x4) staged a great escape to seal a Ranji Trophy knockout berth for Saurashtra.

Saurashtra entered the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals with a game to spare.   -  TWITTER| JAYDEV UNADKAT

Kamlesh Makwana (31, 116b, 5x4) and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (33, 125b, 5x4) staged a great escape to seal a Ranji Trophy knockout berth for Saurashtra, thanks to a thrilling draw against Mumbai.

The Saurashtra camp exulted in joy after Makwana and Jadeja’s unbroken 75-run stand off 239 balls for the eighth wicket helped the team pocket three points following a first-innings lead. On the other hand, the Mumbai players were heartbroken since the result meant its quest for regaining the Ranji title will be prolonged by another year.

As it happened| Ranji Trophy, As it happened: Mumbai knocked out, Saurashtra into quarters

But when Mumbai had reduced Saurashtra to 83 for seven on the last day after setting an improbable target of 290 runs off 74 overs, with almost 40 overs remaining, it was gung-ho about keeping its Ranji campaign alive.

The pitch at SCA stadium offered variable bounce and a ball that turned sharply, like the one that went through the gate and bowled Arpit Vasavada, the stand-in captain who was also the last recognised batsman.

With Saurashtra having lost top seven batsmen to an in-form attack —despite missing injured Tushar Deshpande — Mumbai was favourite to walk away with six points. But Makwana and Dharmendra showed their wealth of experience with a blockathon that lasted till the end.

Both enjoyed a slice of luck even before they had opened their accounts. While one from Mulani that kept low missed Dharmendra’s off-stump by a whisker, in the next over, left-arm pacer Royston Dias - who was exceptional through the match - squared Makwana up, the ball brushed the off-stump, the bail shook but didn't come off.

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Thereon, despite the Mumbai fielders - with five close-in catchers besides ’keeper-captain Aditya Tare - constantly in their ears for most part of the last three hours, Dharmendra and Makwana hardly played a false stroke.

The only time Dharmendra was enticed into a mistake — his drive resulted in a scoop off Mulani in the 54th over — Bhupen Lalwani at mid-off dropped a dolly. In the end, the slip-up cost Mumbai dear as Saurashtra entered the quarterfinals with a game to spare.

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