Iqbal Abdullah was the most satisfied man after Mumbai defeated Gujarat by 27 runs to enter the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals. And, why shouldn’t he be? It was largely due to his 11 wickets (6/42 & 5/44) in the match and 68 runs (30 & 38) with the bat that Mumbai cruised to an exciting win after surrendering the first innings lead in this do-or-die encounter.
With these performances, Abdullah has also won back the faith of selectors and critics who were doubting him, especially after he was dropped from the Ranji team midway through the season. That, despite taking four wickets in his last game against Punjab. After that match, his poor show in Col CK Nayudu Trophy game also against Punjab saw ignored.
“I did not bowl badly against Punjab and had done decently picking up four wickets. Still I was dropped on the basis of my performance in CK Nayudu Trophy. However, I did not expect it to be a do or die situation here. I had to perform here to prove myself. I worked back into the side by performing in the club matches,” Abdullah told dna after the match.
He said that he was not under pressure but was confident. “I had done well in my last Ranji match. The only thing I had to do was to continue to bowl the same way. I got the chance and I did it,” he added.
Abdullah said the team’s morale was high despite conceding the first innings. “We had to win it. We decided if we could give them 150-plus, then it would be difficult since the pitch was turning. We had the belief in ourselves,” he said.
The 24-year-old said he was desperate to get those wickets. “However, I did not want to bowl with over enthusiasm. I wanted to be in my senses and bowl a consistent line,” he said.
Another left-arm spinner, Vishal Dabholkar, too, joined the party, picking up four for 33 to take his tally to 38 wickets this season.
Brief scores: Mumbai 154 & 273 bt Gujarat 253 & 147 all out in 56 overs (A Patel 65, B Merai 36; I Abdulla 5/44, V Dabholkar 4/33) by 27 runs; Points: Mumbai 6, Gujarat 0
Road to quarters
Beat Haryana at Rohtak by four wickets
Beat Punjab at Chandigarh by 184 runs
Drew with Delhi at Mumbai
Beat Vidarbha at Mumbai by 338 runs
Drew with Jharkhand at Mumbai
Drew with Odisha at Mumbai
Lost to Karnataka at Bangalore by 160 runs
Beat Gujarat at Valsad by 27 runs