Vijay Hazare Trophy: Mumbai storms into semis after bundling Bihar out for 69

Mumbai hammered Bihar by nine wickets to enter the semifinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Tushar Deshpande claimed his first List A five-wicket haul.   -  SUDHAKARA JAIN

Mumbai hammered Bihar by nine wickets at the Just Cricket Ground near here on Sunday to enter the semifinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

After Tushar Deshpande claimed his first List A five-wicket haul (five for 23) to skittle Bihar out for a paltry 69, Mumbai chased down the total in under 13 overs, with Rohit Sharma remaining unbeaten on 33 (42b, 3x4, 2x6). There was a brief scare when a fan ran on to the ground to hug the Indian star but it was a day on which nothing would deny Mumbai.

Bihar, which has just returned to the domestic scene after 18 long years, looked very much a fish out of water. Deshpande rocked its top-order with an opening spell of four for 16 in six overs. It included a stunning one-handed catch by Dhawal Kulkarni while running backwards from mid-on to dismiss opener Vijay Bharti.

The Bihar batsmen appeared a second late to every shot. No.3 batsman Babul Kumar, who was dropped twice earlier, was castled by Deshpande trying to play across the line. Skipper Keshav Kumar was trapped in front, before left-arm spinner Shams Mulani’s three-wicket burst ensured there would be no resistence from the lower-middle order too.

When Mumbai batted, the Bihar bowlers seemed intimidated. Sabir Khan, who opened the bowling, sent down as many as five wides in the first over. When he did manage to land the ball correctly, Akhil Herwadkar was up to the task, smashing him for a four and a six.

At the other end Rohit was slow to begin with before turning expansive, much to the delight of the gathered fans. The loudest cheers were reserved for the front-foot pull off paceman Anunay Narayan Singh which went soaring above the long-on fielder. A six off leggie Samar Quadri over the mid-wicket fence hastened the end before a cut for four off Ashutosh Aman brought down the curtains.

“It is very easy to get complacent against the likes of Bihar,” said Deshpande later. “You cannot afford to spray the ball and concede. So I am happy with the way I bowled but not satisfied. May be if I can bowl with the same intensity in the final, I will be.”

The scores: Bihar 69 in 28.2 overs (Tushar Deshpande five for 23, Shams Mulani three for 18) lost to Mumbai 71 for one in 12.4 overs (Rohit Sharma 33 n.o.).