Mumbai down and virtually out of T20 league

Mumbai will now have to beat Maharashtra in its last league game on Thursday with a sizeable margin and then, hope for the results of remaining three games to make a trip to Kolkata for the all-India knockouts of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Saurashtra batsman Robin Uthappa plays a shot against Mumbai in the West Zone Twenty20 League at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Wednesday.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

 

The Kathiawari air had become slightly more pleasant after the chilly spell over the last week. Still, Mumbai batsmen froze against the home team to find themselves on the verge of being knocked out of the West Zone Twenty20 League here on Wednesday.

Once the Mumbai batting wilted under pressure and was bowled out for a below-par 130 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium, it had to hope for an inspiring bowling performance. Robin Uthappa (52 off 36b, 5x4, 3x6) then batted like a true professional to take the fume out of Mumbai's hopes. Rookies Kishan Parmar and (35* off 37b, 2x4, 1x6) and Vishvarajsinh Jadeja (20* off 17b, 3x4) then completed the facile eight-wicket win with 16 balls to spare to put Saurashtra in joint lead along with Baroda in the league standings.

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Mumbai will now have to beat Maharashtra in its last league game on Thursday with a sizeable margin and then, hope for the results of remaining three games to make a trip to Kolkata for the all-India knockouts of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Had the Mumbai middle and lower middle-order built on the recovery led by captain Aditya Tare (39 off 23b, 6x4, 1x6) and Siddhesh Lad (38 off 38b, 3x4), it would have found itself justifying its decision to bat first. Jay Bista walked out to bat with Shashank Singh, his third opening partner in as many games, but even before the young all-rounder could make an impact, Bista was squared up by Shaurya Sanandia to edge to the 'keeper in the second over.

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Captain Tare then took guard on the back of successive ducks and took the Saurashtra pacers on, with slinger Kushang Patel suffering to his onslaught. However, Sanandia saw Singh's back in his next over to reduce Mumbai to 30 for two.

Tare continued to drive at will but just when he was set to cut loose, an uppish cut off left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja landed straight into Yuvraj Chudasama's palms at point. The next ball, Suryakumar Yadav nicked it to 'keeper Uthappa. Despite umpire Nitin Pandit raising his finger, the batsman stood his ground for a long time before heading back to the dug-out.

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Debutant Khizar Dafedar and all-rounder Shivam Dube were then dismissed cheaply by leggie Yuvraj Chudasama, one of the finds of the tournament. While Dafedar edged him to give Uthappa his third catch of the afternoon, Dube misread a googly and was stumped to leave Mumbai reeling at 82 for six in 12 overs. Lad was thus not in a position to change gears and eventually was caught in the deep off Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat in the 17th over.

Once Uthappa and Sheldon Jackson got off the blocks quickly, the writing was clear on the wall but Uthappa came into his own — playing his trademark drives — to give a handful of spectators a reason to cheer about. Had he not played across the line off Shardul Thakur, who bowled an impressive spell, and saw the ball crashing into the off-stump, Uthappa could well have finished the game earlier and helped Saurashtra improve the run-rate even more.

Devdhar flies high

Meanwhile, Kedar Devdhar (100 off 61b, 11x4, 4x6) played the innings of the tournament so far to help Baroda thump Gujarat in the morning match. Seasoned opener Devdhar had a monumental task of resurrecting Baroda's innings when it was reduced to 25 for four in the fifth over. Devdhar then pounded the Gujarat bowlers, including spin duo of Piyush Chawla, who picked two in two in his first over, and Axar Patel to bat Gujarat out of the game.

Brief scores:

Mumbai 130 all out in 19.3 overs (Aditya Tare 39, Siddhesh Lad 38; Shaurya Sanandia four for 22, Yuvraj Chudasama two for 21, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja two for 23) lost to Saurashtra 133 for two in 17.2 overs (Robin Uthappa 52, Kishan Parmar 35 n.o.; Shardul Thakur two for 23).

Baroda 175 for seven in 20 overs (Kedar Devdhar 100, Swapnil Singh 44; Piyush Chawla three for 45, Jaiveer Parmar two for 37) bt Gujarat 139 all out in 18 overs (Chirag Gandhi 52, Axar Patel 33; Rishi Arothe three for 26, Atit Sheth two for 15, Soaeb Tai two for 18, Krunal Pandya two for 23).

Standings: Baroda (8 points off 2 matches), Saurashtra 8 off 2, Maharashtra 4 off 2, Mumbai 4 off 3, Gujarat 0 off 3.