Ranji Trophy: Mumbai defeats Chhattisgarh, ensures season’s first win

Jay Bista takes Mumbai past the finishing line for a nine-wicket win on Wednesday.

File Photo: Jay Bista scored an unbeaten 49 in Mumbai’s second innings.   -  PTI

Jay Bista swung into action without any delay and took Mumbai past the finishing line in the Elite Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy League match against Chhattisgarh at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.

The right-hander, who has undergone an erratic season, was circumspect in the post-tea session on the second day when the home team needed 91 to win. The openers Bista and left hander Vikrant Auti appeared to be keen to get the job done without being separated and succeeded until the last over (22nd) sent down on Tuesday, but when play resumed on Wednesday, seamer Pankaj Rao slanted the ball across and made Auti nick for a straightforward catch to wicket-keeper Lavin Coster.

Making haste

Auti added two more runs to his overnight 32 and departed in the fifth ball of the first over. But soon, Bista sent the ball racing to the fence, off-driving seamer Shakeeb Ahmed for the first boundary hit of the day. The attacking right-hander completed the task in hand, deflecting Rao’s wayward delivery to the fine-leg boundary and dispatching the next ball to the mid-wicket boundary to ensure his team’s first win of the season.

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Mumbai skipper Dhawal Kulkarni was somewhat disappointed not to have been able to win by 10 wickets to clinch the bonus point — it would have taken its points tally to 18. “It would have been great if we had got that extra point, it would have looked good on the points table,” said Kulkarni, who led the team in the absence of Siddhesh Lad.

‘Good wicket’

Talking about the green-top pitch, Kulkarni said: “Whichever pitch that gives a result is a good wicket. Actually, the pitch was favourable for both teams. Chhattisgarh bowled us out for 188. We got only a lead of 59 runs. But we put in a great effort in the second innings; the pitch had become a little slow. The Mumbai bowlers’ effort made the difference. Such wickets are good for all teams. Matches become competitive and batsmen need to show the right technique and the bowlers have to bend their backs as it happened in the second innings with us. To get 20 wickets, such pitches are necessary. It keeps both teams in the fray right through the four days.”

Harpreet Singh Bhatia, the Chhattisgarh captain, said: “Runs have to be on the board. When a team scores 300, the other team has to score 301. We did not have enough runs on the board. The batsmen could not make a collective effort right through the season.”

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