Zaheer fiver gives Mumbai thrilling win
Zaheer Khan took 5/79 as Mumbai beat Madhya Pradesh by 7 runs in a Ranji thriller at Holkar Stadium in Indore on Tuesday.
Mumbai started Day 4 on 192/5 in their second innings, leading MP by 256 runs. MP had been bowled out for 244 in their first innings in reply to Mumbai’s 304 all out. They had secured 3 points already with the 60 run first innings lead but needed an outright win with the full 6 points to keep their chances of making it to the Quarter finals alive.
The batsmen Abhishek Nayar and Ankeet Chavan worked towards that aim, adding a quick 58 runs off 10 overs in the morning to declare on 250/5, setting MP a target of 311 in 78 overs.
MP opener Jalaj Saxena came out attacking and the ploy worked, MP posting a first wicket stand of 90 in just 21 overs before Naman Ojha was dismissed. Ankit Sharma of MP was promoted to no. 3 as a pinch hitter but the Mumbai bowlers did not allow him to score freely, putting the pressure back on their opposition. Saxena took up the challenge and continued to bat aggressively.
An 85 run stand for the second wicket off 158 deliveries followed before Zaheer Khan tore through the MP middle order. He had Sharma, Udit Birla and MP skipper Devendra Bundela dismissed as MP slid from 175/1 to 193/4 at the Tea break.
With 118 needed off 26.1 possible overs, MP pushed ahead in a 40 run fifth wicket partnership between Saxena and Harpreet Singh. Nayar got Mumbai the breakthrough, running Saxena (128, 182b, 4x16, 6x1) out to bring Mumbai back in the game. His bowling had been crucial in putting the pressure on MP and he dismissed next batsman Satyam Chaudhary, trapping him LBW after the batsman had been given a life by the umpire two deliveries earlier.
Zaheer Khan struck again, dismissing Rahul Bakshi and Anand Rajan while Nayar got Harpreet as MP slid further to 267/9 from 233/4. Zaheer’s fiver and Nayar’s allround efforts had given Mumbai an improbable win. Almost.
No.s 10 and 11 for MP, Amarjeet Singh and Ishwar Pandey made a fist of it, smashing runs off the Mumbai bowling in a 10th wicket partnership for 36 runs off just 26 balls. A drive from Singh struck Zaheer on the hand in his follow through, sending him off the field. He came back after treatment only for Singh to hit him for a six.
From 20 required off 4 overs, MP brought it down to 8 within a single over, Pandey smashing Nayar for two sixes in one over. But Pandey’s attempt to hit a third six in the over ended in the hands of Sufiyan Sheikh at the ropes, ending MP’s chase 7 runs short of the target.
Mumbai kept their hopes alive another day, aiming for their 40th title in the competition’s 79 year history.