Vijay Hazare Trophy: Bista, Shardul shine for Mumbai

Even without Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer, Mumbai hoodwinks Punjab by 43 runs to register its fourth win in five games.

Jay Bista of Mumbai in action against Punjab in the Vijay Hazare Trophy match at Just Cricket Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.   -  Sudhakara Jain

 

Mumbai’s bull run in the Vijay Hazare Trophy continued with a 43-run victory over Punjab at the Just Cricket Ground here on Friday.

It didn’t matter that it had to take the field without three frontline batsmen. Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer had left to be part of the Board President’s XI side to play West Indies while Ajinkya Rahane will soon have national team commitments. The win was still secured, the side’s fourth in five matches.

Midway through the Punjab chase, there wasn’t the slightest inkling of a favourable result. Building on the fine start provided by openers Anmolpreet Singh (35, 54b, 7x4) and Shubman Gill (40, 66b, 6x4), Mandeep Singh (32, 44b, 1x4, 1x6) and Yuvraj Singh (26, 31b, 2x4, 1x6) looked set to scale the 246-run target with ease.

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Yuvraj, after a sedate beginning, had shaped up nicely with a massive six over mid-wicket off left-arm spinner Shams Mulani and a trademark pull off Dhawal Kulkarni. But Kulkarni, the stand-in skipper, sliced open the contest for Mumbai by removing both Mandeep and Yuvraj in successive overs.

Yuvraj miscued a pull and was caught at mid-on while Mandeep too perished attempting a cross-batted shot, with Siddhesh Lad completing a running catch in the mid-wicket region. Wicketkeeper Abhishek Gupta (33 not out, 29b, 4x4, 1x6) waged a lone battle, even hitting Shardul Thakur (10-0-53-3) for a six and two fours in the latter’s last over, slightly tarnishing what was an otherwise fine outing for the paceman. But with wickets tumbling at the other end, there was little he could do.

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Earlier, Mumbai, which was put into bat, didn’t miss Shaw and Rahane much as Jay Bista (68, 75b, 7x4, 1x6) and Akhil Herwadkar (32, 49b, 3x4) ensured a solid start. The duo scored at a brisk pace, especially Bista, putting on 75 runs for the opening wicket. The Punjab spinners in Mayank Markande and Gurkeerat Mann did apply the brakes but the openers kept the scoreboard ticking with some sharp running.

However, middle-order batsmen Lad (35) and Surya Kumar Yadav (31) squandered opportunities while Aditya Tare and Shivam Dube were both run out by direct hits from Anmolpreet. Only Shardul’s late flourish (30, 14b, 2x4, 3x6), which included 20 runs off the last over, ensured Mumbai’s total was competitive. This in the end proved more than enough.

Brief scores: Mumbai 245 in 49 overs (J Bista 68, A Herwadkar 32, S Lad 35) beat Punjab 202 in 44.3 overs (A Singh 35, S Gill 40, M Singh 32, Abhishek Gupta 33*; Dhawal Kulkarni 3/18, S Thakur 3/53).