Those who watched the last day of the Ranji Trophy Group A tie between Mumbai and Bengal at the Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday will remember it for long. Though Mumbai could not post their first win of the season, the match was as dramatic as any one can imagine.
Bengal, facing a target of 391 and resuming at 47 for no loss, were never in the hunt. If at all any team could have won, it was only Mumbai. But Bengal held themselves together to hold the 39-time champions to a draw and walk away with one point. Bengal finished at 198 for seven.
Mumbai got three points from the draw and are third behind Punjab (29) and Madhya Pradesh (11) with 10 points.
All-rounder Abhishek Nayar was the star of the day with six for 13 in 19 overs. He almost single-handedly took Mumbai to victory. But Wriddhiman Saha’s fighting 152-ball 38 helped Bengal eke out a draw.
Starting the final day with a further 344 to win, Bengal had the upperhand in the first half. Openers Rohan Banerjee and Arindam Das did not let the Mumbai seamers dominate until Nayar, who had bowled just two overs in the first innings, gave them the breakthrough, removing Banerjee for 59.
After lunch, Nayar came up with a gem of an outswinger that took the edge of Writam Porel’s blade to wicket-keeper Aditya Tare. Das fell prey to Nayar in a similar manner for 54.
But the best delivery of the day was reserved for Manoj Tiwary, the ball coming in sharply to dislodge the off-stump as Tiwary shouldered arms.
Mumbai 1st innings 297
Bengal 1st innings 201
Mumbai 2nd innings 294/5d
Bengal 2nd innings (O/N: 47/0): R Banerjee c Tare b Nayar 59, A Das c Tare b Nayar 54, W Porel c Tare b Nayar 1, M Tiwary b Nayar 14, W Saha not out 38, S Das c Powar b Chavan 6, A Jhunjhunwala lbw b Nayar 9, L Shukla b Nayar 0, VP Singh not out 0
Extras: (B8, LB1, W1, NB7) 17
Total: (7 wickets; 106 overs) 198
FoW: 1-116, 2-120, 3-125, 4-136, 5-161, 6-190, 7-190
Bowling: D Kulkarni 22-7-46-0, A Salvi 15-8-24-0 (1W), R Powar 15-1-42-0 (6NB), K Waingankar 10-7-8-0 (1NB), A Chavan 25-5-56-1, A Nayar 19-12-13-6