Ranji Trophy: Swapnil strikes with bat, ball as Mumbai stumbles

The Baroda all-rounder crushed Mumbai with calculated batting, cutting loose when the tired bowlers erred. His knock contained 10 fours and four sixes. Later he took the crucial wicket of Prithvi Shaw in Mumbai's second essay.

Baroda’s Swapnil Singh acknowledges the cheers after reaching his century against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy match at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.   -  Vivek Bendre

Pushed to the backfoot for the third day in a row, Mumbai remained in deep waters at 102 for four in its second innings against Baroda in the Ranji Trophy Group C game at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday. Facing an uphill task after Baroda declared its first innings at 575 for nine, Mumbai lost captain Aditya Tare cheaply (five runs, 11 balls) for the second time. The host team needs to display resolve of a high order to get another 202 runs to avoid an innings defeat.

Scorecard

Opener Prithvi Shaw responded with a cracking 56 off 70 balls. The misery of a sixth-ball dismissal was forgotten as the lad played to his strengths and provided a batting spectacle. The punch through covers produced a roar from fans as his 50 came up in 59 balls before a ripper from left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh (8-2-26-1) slipped through six runs later. Atit Sheth had castled Shaw in the first innings with a beauty.

Report, Day Two

Shreyas Iyer let his team-mates down with a crude slog, betraying pressure of expectations. Ajinkya Rahane (28 not out) gritted it out, and a match-saving knock will be timely. Deepak Hooda declared earlier before tea on Day Three at 575-9, ahead by 404 runs. From the time he won the toss, the Baroda captain was in command as all-rounder Swapnil (164 runs, 309 balls) supported a smart show by swing bowlers on the opening day. The latter crushed Mumbai with calculated batting, cutting loose when the tired bowlers erred. His knock contained 10 fours and four sixes.

Ranji blog, Day Three

Swapnil’s application and a collective determination by the visiting team were examples found lacking by the home team batsmen. Mumbai hit back on the third morning with two quick wickets. Tare’s catch behind the wickets to snare Mitesh Patel was sharp. Diving low to his left, he pouched an edge off Shardul Thakur, and that demonstrated an urge to fight back and halt the slide towards defeat and disgrace.

Continuing the trend of Baroda youngsters cashing in on the chance to prove a point against a first-class heavyweight, Swapnil notched his maiden first-class hundred. The left-arm spinner enjoyed himself at the Wankhede, slamming eight fours and two sixes to reach his hundred off 242 balls. He has another opportunity to prove his value with the ball and rock Mumbai’s batting might on the fourth and final day.

* Swapnil Singh, left-arm spinner and right-handed bat, was born in Rae Bareilly and shifted to Baroda for cricketing education.

* His Ranji Trophy debut for Baroda happened at 14 years, 355 days as one of the youngest to play first-class cricket, in 2006.

* The 26-year-old is now the vice-captain and is relishing the responsibility, scoring his first century at the Wankhede Stadium.

* He was promoted to No. 5 from No. 8 by captain Deepak Hooda and he has eight fifties in 43 first-class games so far.

* He took three wickets in the 2011 Ranji final against Rajasthan, played in Baroda, which ended in Rajasthan winning on first innings lead.

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