Baroda’s pressure tactics nearly pushed Mumbai to the brink of an innings defeat, before Siddhesh Lad demonstrated his stonewalling abilities (71* off 238 balls) to anchor the home team to safety at 260-7 in 120.4 overs when play was called off in the Ranji Trophy Group C tie. Dhawal Kulkarni was an able second fiddle to Lad during the dying moments of the match.
Denied an outright victory on the fourth and final day, the visitor gained three points for its first innings lead. Baroda captain Deepak Hooda used spinners to get more overs in while crowding batsmen with seven fielders. Lad, who got caught off a no-ball when on 57, displayed the application ingrained in city cricketers for the remainder of a gritty knock.
Baroda content with draw
However Hooda, leading a young side, expressed satisfaction at the three points earned. “Everything cannot go your way always. You have to compromise somewhere. I have heard about Baroda’s intense clashes against Mumbai. This is the first time I played in one such game at the Wankhede," he said.
Swapnil Singh dealt the first blow by dismissing Ajinkya Rahane - the overnight batsman stepped back to a ball that crashed into the stumps off the pads.
Kartik Kakade forced Abhishek Nayar into a mistake, coercing an edge that was caught behind in the third mandatory over.
Lad defies odds
Baroda fielders engaged in banter to break Lad’s concentration; goading the batsman to fight back ball-by-ball, over-by-over till the umpires called off play.
He walked back to applause from his Mumbai teammates after surviving 238 balls under pressure - the longest stint at the crease in the four-day tie after two Baroda century-makers Aditya Waghmode and Swapnil Singh (309 balls each).
Mumbai’s 500th Ranji Trophy tie did not end in celebrations, but 11 points from four matches help it remain in the third spot and in the reckoning for knockout qualification. Meanwhile, Baroda is fifth in Group C, with seven points from four matches.
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