Mumbai used the Impact Player rule effectively on Sunday to defend a moderate total of 155 against Vidarbha and maintain its clean slate in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy league stage so far.
Mohit Avasthi bowled two critical overs (2-0-8-1) after being introduced as the Impact Player after the 13th over, which helped Mumbai restrict Vidarbha to 140 for six, 15 runs short of its total of 155 for eight at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium’s ‘C’ ground on the outskirts of Rajkot. With four wins in as many games, Mumbai is sitting atop the Group A points table.
The Impact Player rules allow for a team to substitute any one of its players latest by the end of the 14th over of an innings. Mumbai stretched the deadline to the hilt and brought pacer Avasthi in for opener Yashasvi Jaiswal when Vidarbha was 83 for five in 13 overs.
With 73 runs required and captain Akshay Wadkar and Shubham Dubey having added 33 runs to get Vidarbha back in with a chance, Avasthi straightaway marked his run-up. Not only did he concede just four runs in the over, he dismissed captain Wadkar to til the game firmly in Mumbai’s favour.
Avasthi, one of the finds of Mumbai’s last Ranji Trophy campaign, returned to bowl the 19th over and bowled a perfect over, conceding just four runs, making Tushar Deshpande’s life easier while bowling the last over.
“Avasthi and Prashant (leggie Prashant Solanki) were ready and warmed up. I had told Prithvi (stand-in captain Prithvi Shaw) it was going to be his call based on the assessment of the conditions. The ploy to hold the substitution back till late worked really well for us,” Amol Muzumdar, the head coach, told Sportstar.
Avasthi ensured Shams Mulani (3/21) and Shivam Dube’s all-round with the ball did not go waste. Both the bowlers each bowled a double-wicket over, with the left-arm spinner Mulani striking twice in the fourth over of the second innings. Dube, who had held the innings together with a 40-ball 41 to help Mumbai cross 150, then earned the prize scalps of Atharva Taide and Jitesh Sharma in the ninth over.