What do Mumbai do when they are in trouble? They dial Wasim Jaffer. The veteran batsman has been playing saviour to his team for 17 years and Saturday was no different.
At 70 for two in 34 overs, Mumbai needed a strong performance that would take them to safety.
And Jaffer did it in style with his unbeaten 125 to guide hosts to 242 for two in 90 overs at the end of the day at Wankhede Stadium.
This was Jaffer’s third century in five games and his 51st in first class cricket.
And most of his hundreds have bailed Mumbai out of trouble on many occasions. His consistency also earned praise from former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, who was at the Wankhede for a TV shoot. The southpaw had once questioned selectors on not picking Jaffer as third opener when India were drubbed by England 4-0 in 2011.
Jaffer’s 125 was crucial. After a disappointing game against Jharkhand, Mumbai could not afford such surprises anymore and Jaffer, returning as captain, had a lot at stake.
Orissa seamer Basanth Mohanty bowled a beautiful early morning spell beating the edge of Aditya Tare on many occasions before the wicketkeeper-batsman nicked him to ’keeper Sujit Lenka in the 14th over. Susanth Marathe, too, fell after a cautious start to the same bowler.
Coming round the wicket, Mohanty bowled a clueless Marathe for 27.
From then on, Jaffer along with Hiken Shah (57 not out) steadied the ship and stitched together a 172-run stand for the third wicket.