Mumbai, who are the 41-time Ranji champions, are out of the play-off race. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Mumbai were knocked out of the ongoing Ranji Trophy after drawing against Saurashtra on the fourth and final day of their elite Group B match. Apart from Mumbai, Delhi Cricket Team's Ranji Trophy campaign is also all but overSaurashtra's Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Kamlesh Makwana played patient knocks to deny Mumbai an outright win. Saurashtra, thus, took three points from the drawn affair, courtesy their first-innings lead. Mumbai, whose fight back was led with Surya Kumar Yadav's ton, had to be content with a lone point. Mumbai, the most successful team in the history of Ranji Trophy with 41 titles, still have a game left against Madhya Pradesh, but their Ranji Trophy campaign is over as they have only 14 points and even an outright win won't help them to make the knock-outs.
Only top five teams from combined Group A and B make the quarter-finals. Two teams go through from Group C, while one team moves ahead from the Plate Group. On fourth and final day, Mumbai spinners Shams Mulani (3/47) and Shashank Attarde (3/45) ran through the Saurashtra top and middle order to leave the hosts reeling at 83 for 7 to raise hopes of a Mumbai win. But then Jadeja, who came in at number nine and Makwana, who came in at eight, held both the ends up and batted together for almost 40 overs to deny Mumbai six points. Makwana, who remained unbeaten on 31, consumed 116 balls, while Jadeja who remained unbeaten on 33 batted for 125 balls.
The duo negated the challenge posed by Mumbai spinners on a deteriorating track and dashed Mumbai's hopes. After Mumbai declared for 362 for 7 in their second essay, Attarde removed Snell Patel (0) with a return catch. Just two balls later, Attarde got his second after Divyaraj Chouhan's (0) flick was caught at short-mid wicket by Mulani. Soon, it became 21/3 as Mulani got one to skid and trapped Sheldon Jackson (11) in-front of the wicket. Harvik Desai (24) and Arpit Vasavada (31) ensured that Saurashtra took lunch at 35 for 3. But post lunch, Mumbai grabbed another four wickets as Saurashtra imploded fast. First Mulani broke through Harvik Desai's defence as he was caught by Jay Bista and then Chirag Jani (0) and Prerak Mankad (9) too perished quickly.
Mulani then removed danger-man Vasavada as Saurashtra were on the verge of a defeat. But then Jadeja and Makwana joined hands and dashed Mumbai's hopes. Saurashtra next play Tamil Nadu and still has a chance to make the quarters. Meanwhile at Shimoga, Madhya Pradesh grabbed three points after their match ended in a draw against Karnataka. Karnataka had posted huge 426 in their first innings, but Aditya Srivastava struck a gritty 192 to give Madhya Pradesh give the crucial first innings lead. In the national capital, Railways took three points from their drawn game against Himachal Pradesh, courtesy the first-innings lead.
Delhi All But Out
Gujarat virtually pushed a lacklustre Delhi out of the knockout race after grabbing three points from their group A Ranji Trophy match, which ended in a draw here on Friday. Delhi are now left with a home game against Rajasthan, starting here from February 12, and they have to get seven points (including bonus) to have any chance left. But even a total of 25 points may not suffice as Gujarat (29), Andhra (27), Bengal (26), Saurashtra (25) and Karnataka (25) are already in top five with a game left. On the final day, Himmat Singh (70 off 76 balls) hit some lusty blows as Delhi declared at 333 for 8 leaving Gujarat with a target of 292 in little over two sessions. The match was called off at tea after Gujarat reached 128 for 2 as it was clear that no outright result was possible.
Maharashtra defeated Odisha comprehensively by 10 wickets on the fourth and final day of a Ranji Trophy Group C match here on Friday to pick up seven points from the encounter. However, the win may not help Maharashtra's cause as it lies in fifth spot with 28 points behind Jammu & Kashmir (39), Odisha (35), Services (33) and Haryana (30). Only the top two teams from the group will advance to the knockout stages. Maharashtra, which had declared at a mammoth 543 for five in reply to Odisha's first innings score of 293, dismissed the visitors for 289 in the second essay, setting themselves a target of 40 runs which they knocked off in 11 overs.
Resuming at the overnight score of 24 for no loss, Odisha were bowled out for 289 in 86.1 overs despite a fighting ton by Govinda Poddar (118, 187 balls, 14 fours, 2 sixes). Left-arm medium-pacer Mukesh Choudhary was the best bowler for Maharashtra, returning with figures of 4 for 99 while medium-pacer Ashay Palkar and left-arm spinner Satyajeet Bachhav were among wickets too.