Mumbai played safe and collected three points against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match here at the Brabourne Stadium on Friday.
In the last session of the final day, Mumbai needed 212 runs for an outright win against Tamil Nadu. It was a tricky affair, with just 32 overs remaining and the ball turning a bit. Mumbai, however, earned a draw, reaching 137-3 when bad light stopped play.
After Pradosh Ranjan Paul (169 off 308 balls) and Vijay Shankar’s 103 (174b, 13x4) helped Tamil Nadu reach 548 in the second innings and take a big lead, Mumbai had a tough job in hand.
Openers Yashasvi Jaiswal (66 not out off 60) and Prithvi Shaw showed intent and brought up 30 runs in four overs before the latter edged a Lakshminarayanan Vignesh delivery behind the stumps into the safe hands of Tamil Nadu stumper N Jagadeesan.
Yet, Jaiswal and Armaan Jaffer maintained the run rate to around six per over to stay in the hunt. While Jaiswal hit a six and a couple of boundaries, the talented Jaffer cut and drove nicely before being stumped off a R Sai Kishore delivery.
With two wickets down for 94 in 15.3 overs, Mumbai changed its strategy, and captain Ajinkya Rahane had a mid-pitch chat with Jaiswal, asking him not to be aggressive and play according to the merit of the delivery.
However, Rahane’s stay was cut short by a wily stumping by Jagadeesan off Sai Kishore after the batter played just 18 deleveries.
As the day progressed, Mumbai marched towards a draw and packeted three crucial points before its away fixture against Assam next week. Jaiswal, who overcame a cramp during his 66 runs unbeaten knock, and Sarfaraz Khan hung in there before the umpires drew curtains on the game due to bad light.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu batters Pradosh Paul and Vijay Shankar dominated the morning session of the play. While Paul continued his dream run, bringing up his first 150-plus score in first-class cricket, it was an outing to remember for the comeback man Vijay.
A shoulder surgery after last year’s IPL forced him to be out of action for seven months, but the seasoned campaigner stood out when it mattered the most.
Starting the day at 380 for 4, Paul and Vijay were in no hurry to keep the scoreboard rolling and took their time to adjust before hitting a few boundaries. As the surface flattened, Mumbai lost an opportunity when Vijay, batting on 61, was dropped by Mohit Avasthi at third man. A dejected Avasthi had to be comforted by his teammates. However, with the visiting side looking determined, Mumbai could not find a headway.
By Vijay’s own admission, ‘it was a poor shot’ at that juncture of the game, and taking lessons from that, he played risk-free shots to bring up his sixth first-class century.
However, Tanush Kotian (4-129) broke the partnership just after lunch as Paul was caught by Avasthi at covers. A few minutes later, Vijay, too, departed when he was trapped leg before by the same bowler.
Tamil Nadu’s effort to rebuild the innings went in vain, with Shahrukh Khan and Sai Kishore managing just 36 runs before Shams Mulani claimed two back-to-back wickets, dismissing Sai Kishore and Aswin Crist. And that dented Tamil Nadu’s hopes of extending the lead.
But the total of 548 proved the Tamil Nadu critics, who did not expect the team to give a fight to Mumbai after being bowled out for 144 in the first innings, wrong.
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