Ranji Q/F: Gohil's five-wicket haul takes Mumbai a step closer to semis

Gohil’s five-wicket haul left Hyderabad tottering at 121 for seven in a chase of 232.

Vijay Gohil

Young left-arm spinner Vijay Gohil’s accurate bowling meant Mumbai ended the day on the verge of setting up a semifinal clash against Tamil Nadu.   -  M.A. Sriram

Mumbai, the domestic cricket powerhouse that has bagged 41 titles in 82 previous editions of the Ranji Trophy, has a reputation of making oppositions wilt under pressure when it matters the most. As a result, when Hyderabad started the run chase of 232 set by Mumbai in the Ranji quarterfinal, it knew that more than the demons in the wicket and questions posed by the Mumbai bowlers, its batsmen had to avoid a brain-freeze to keep themselves in the game going into the last day’s play.

>Scorecard

Unfortunately for Hyderabad, Monday evening at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium turned out to be a nightmare for the team. Not only did some of its batsmen threw away their wickets in quest of quick runs but young left-arm spinner Vijay Gohil’s accurate bowling meant Mumbai ended the day on the verge of setting up a semifinal clash against Tamil Nadu. Gohil’s five-wicket haul left Hyderabad tottering at 121 for seven, leaving too much on B. Anirudh’s platter on the last morning.

Gohil, marking a return to Mumbai’s side following a forced layoff due to a finger injury he sustained during the second day’s play, changed the course of the day in two spells in the last session.

At tea, Hyderabad, riding on Tanmay Agarwal counter-attacking Shardul Thakur’s short-ball burst with two sixes over deep square leg in each of Thakur’s two overs, was 41 for one. Gohil opened the bowling from the dressing room end after the break and it took him just eight balls to strike. Left-handed Agarwal seemed to have been caught in two minds over whether to block or drive and thus offered a low return catch to Gohil.

In his next over, Gohil got the big scalp of S. Badrinath. Despite receiving a pounding from the Hyderabad captain in the first innings, Gohil refrained from bowling flat and was rewarded for it. Badrinath stepped out but the face of his bat turned a little, with Shreyas Iyer completing a simple catch at mid-wicket.

With two left-handers at the crease, Aditya Tare took Gohil off despite his spell reading an impressing 5-1-19-2. Once Abhishek Nayar had struck for the second time, striking through B. Sandeep’s defence to leave Hyderabad 88 for four, Gohil was reintroduced into the attack. His accuracy forced three mistakes from the Hyderabad batsmen in nine balls. K. Sumanth edged him on the backfoot to Tare behind the wicket, Mehdi Hasan’s defensive prod resulted in a bat-pad catch to Praful Waghela at forward short-leg two balls later; while Akash Bhandari missed an attempted cut to be bowled in Gohil’s next over.

That short burst left Hyderabad with little to celebrate for Mohammed Siraj’s outstanding spell of pace bowling earlier in the day. The right-arm pacer breached the defence of five Mumbai batsmen to restrict Mumbai to 217 in its second innings.