Staunch resistance by Aditya Tare (52 not out, 125b, 7x4) at the top of the order helped Mumbai salvage a draw and take home a point on Day Four of its Ranji Trophy contest against Maharashtra. At the halfway stage in the competition, however, Mumbai’s season continues to be in the doldrums.
Once the 97-run sixth-wicket partnership by stand-in captain Rahul Tripathi (76, 129b, 7x4, 1x6) and Satyajeet Bachhav avoided a Maharashtra collapse on the last morning at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium here, the possibility of taking home six points had been virtually nullified.
Mumbai still started off in the hunt for an improbable target of 334 runs off 49 overs, but a second second-innings batting collapse in as many weeks left it reeling at 44 for four just before tea. Tare and Shubham Ranjane then nearly took Mumbai to safety before Bachhav trapped Ranjane in front of the wickets off the first ball of the last hour. Tare continued his vigil, however, and Shivam Dube blocked until the teams shook hands.
The chase did not start on an ideal note for Mumbai’s Tare and Jay Bista. Maharashtra’s experienced new-ball duo of Anupam Sanklecha and Samad Fallah did not offer any loose deliveries, and Bista was adjudged caught down the leg side to a short-ball in the fifth over. As the batsman made his displeasure unknown to the umpire, Lad joined Tare in the middle. Tare then played a cracking cover drive for the first boundary of the innings and the next five overs saw runs flowing until Lad fell into a trap and hooked a short ball straight to leg-gully off left-arm seamer Mukesh Choudhary.
In the next over, rookie Ashay Palkar bowled two superb deliveries to dismiss Suryakumar Yadav (caught behind off an inside edge) and Armaan Jaffer (squared up for an edge in the cordon) to leave Maharashtra reeling.
Tare, however, was at his finest. The wicketkeeper-batsman — who was on the field for each of the 12 sessions of the match — did not have a concentration lapse and dealt well with the short-ball ploy employed by the Maharashtra seamers.
Earlier in the morning, Tripathi and Bachhav frustrated the Mumbai bowlers. With Maharashtra starting the day at 112 for five, Mumbai was desperate to run through the tail. But the duo showed admirable patience to deprive Mumbai of a breakthrough for two hours. Bista’s part-time off-spin saw the back of Bachhav before Shivam Malhotra struck twice in the same over with the second new ball. At lunch, Maharashtra had a lead of 307 and Palkar top-edged a pull to long-leg in the first over after the break.
But the last pair of Choudhary and Fallah held fort for half an hour to ensure Maharashtra would take home at least three points.
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