Having lost more than 250 overs to bad weather, Mumbai now has only the extended sixth day to get the remaining Services wickets to reach another Ranji final. Mumbai’s frustration was showing every over. So much so, that even Sachin Tendulkar urged Yashpal Singh to not waste precious time. Yashpal was being attended by a physio. Services batted with loads of patience, closing at 164/3 in reply to the visitors’ 454/8 declared in their first essay.
Mumbai struck early, dismissing openers Nakul Verma (13) and Pratik Desai (4), with only 22 on board. Ankeet Chavan and Vishal Dabholkar were extracting turn, making 454 taller than it seemed. When Services lost Anshul Gupta for 31, it appeared that Mumbai wouldn’t be stretched.
However, stand-in skipper Soumya Ranjan Swain and Yashpal pieced together an undefeated 92-run stand. Swain was batting on 64, while Yashpal smashed six boundaries for his 43.
Services require another 291 runs to write a new chapter in Ranji history.
Earlier, the start of play was delayed owing to damp patches on the playing arena. Though every effort was made to get the pitch ready on time, the umpires declared it ‘fit for play’ only after lunch.
Resuming at 380 for six, Mumbai were forced to change their gameplan and understandably so. With time at a premium, skipper Ajit Agarkar (145) helped his side collect another 74 runs in nine overs.
Aditya Tare, too, tried hard to force the pace but was dismissed early by pacer Shadab Nazar. Tare was caught behind for 120. Dhawal Kulkarni smashed 20 off 12 balls before Agarkar declared the innings. The probability of the winner being decided by the ‘spin of coin’ can’t be ruled out. It’s a discomfiting thought for Mumbai. There are still 90 overs to be bowled, but the way this game has been delayed because of poor visibility, there could be more drama on the final day.
Mumbai 1st innings (O/N: 380/6): A Tare c Sarabjit Singh b Nazar 120, A Agarkar c Muzzaffaruddin ) b Sinha 145, D Kulkarni not out 20, S Thakur not out 10
Extras: (B6, LB4, W1, NB4) 15;
Total: (8 wickets dec; 152 overs) 454;
FoW: 7-415, 8-435;
Bowling: S Yadav 24-9-49-2, Nishan Singh 32-6-89-1 (NB4, W1), S Nazar 44-11-142-3, A Sinha 32-8-98-2, Yashpal Singh 5-0-23-0, N Verma 9-1-33-0, Pratik Desai 5-2-6-0, R Paliwal 1-0-4-0
Services 1st innings: N Verma lbw b Kulkarni 13, Pratik Desai b Chavan 4, A Gupta c Pawar b Thakur 31, S Swain batting 64, Yashpal Singh batting 43
Extras: (B4, LB2, W1, NB2) 9;
Total: (3 wickets; 57 overs) 164;
FoW: 1-14, 2-22, 3-72;
Bowling: A Agarkar 8-3-29-0, D Kulkarni 11-4-18-1 (NB1), V Dabholkar 11-1-33-0, A Chavan 12-4 -33-1, S Thakur 11-0-35-1 (NB1), A Nayar 4-0-10-0 (W1)