Mumbai can set their sights at the quarters for now. Wasim Jaffer played a masterful knock of 171 to help the 39-time Ranji champions secure the all-important first innings lead, and barring a miracle by Gujarat in the second innings, Mumbai are all set to advance to the next stage. At stumps, the hosts were 323 for five, taking a healthy lead of 79, and Abhishek Nayar holding fort with Suryakumar Yadav.
Jaffer, who has crossed 50 in every match this season but has failed to cash in, looked good for a double ton here. An outstanding one-handed diving catch by Samit Gohel at first slip off Rush Kalaria resulted in his downfall in the last hour of play. Gujarat, at that stage, had taken the second new ball.
“I was playing well in the previous matches but just wasn’t getting a big score. Today, I was middling the ball well and was playing in my zone, so I’m happy I scored a century,” said a satisfied Jaffer.
Resuming at 24 for one, Jaffer seemed poised for a big one as he stroked two boundaries in the second over of the day. Aditya Tare fell for 20 to Krushang Patel who pitched one full outside off. Tare went for the drive only to knick it to keeper Parthiv Patel. The dismissal didn’t inhibit Jaffer as he cruised to his half-century.
The Gujarat bowlers were unable to extract help from the wicket, with even left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhruv, who’s been Gujarat’s best bowler this season, looking ineffective. Jaffer took a liking to Dhruv, lofting him over long-on for a six and hitting two more boundaries in the same over to bring up Mumbai’s 100.
Post lunch, Parthiv went on the defensive — he had a third man, deep point, deep square-leg and deep fine-leg for Jaffer. Jaffer and Hiken Shah continued to milk the Gujarat bowlers for easy singles and hitting the odd boundary in between. Jaffer moved into the 90s quickly and notched up his ton with a glide to the third man fence.
Shah played a perfect second fiddle to Jaffer. They ensured Mumbai sailed past the Gujarat’s first innings total of 244 right after tea. The 213-run partnership for the fourth wicket was finally broken by part-timer Samit Gohel, who cleaned up Shah for 82, but it was too little too late for Gujarat.
Gujarat 1st inns 244
Mumbai 1st inns (O/N: 24/1)
W Jaffer c Gohel b Kalaria 171, A Tare c P Patel b K Patel 20, H Shah b Gohel 82, S Yadav batting 23,
N Patil c Bhatt b Kalaria 0,
A Nayar batting 6
Extras: (W1, NB3) 4
Total: (5 wickets; 99 overs) 323
Fow: 2-71, 3-284, 4-308, 5-312
Bowling: I Chaudhary 22-6-80-0 (NB2), R Kalaria 26-13-48-2 (NB1), R Dhurv 15-1-73-1,
K Patel 19-4-64-1, B Merai
5-1-12-0 (W1), R Bhatt 9-0-35-0, S Gohel 3-0-11-1