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Mishra shines on last day

Mumbai have made it to the final of the Ranji Trophy. They will meet Karnataka in Mysore from Monday in the clash for the title.

cricket Updated: Jan 07, 2010 01:08 IST
K.R. Guruprasad

Mumbai have made it to the final of the Ranji Trophy. They will meet Karnataka in Mysore from Monday in the clash for the title.

The semi-final between Mumbai and Delhi ended in a draw here at the Cricket Club of India on Wednesday but the hosts qualified on the basis of first innings lead.

This is the 43rd time that Mumbai have qualified for the final of the premier domestic tournament, which they have won 38 times. And this is their second successive appearance in the final, under captain Wasim Jaffer.

On the fourth and final day of the semi-final, Mumbai added 187 runs to their first innings lead of 289 to set Delhi an improbable target of 477.

The visitors were 160 for four before the captains agreed to call the match off with the mandatory overs remaining to be bowled.

That brought an end to a day of uninspiring cricket.

It was almost certain by the end of the third day that Mumbai are through to the final.

And if anybody thought there was going to be an exciting fourth day, he might have as well expected to see pigs flying over Brabourne Stadium.

On Tuesday, captain Wasim Jaffer had said the decision to not enforce the follow-on was taken to rest his bowlers.

And that had snuffed out the chances of a result in this contest.

But with the Mumbai batsmen getting out before lunch on the fourth day, their bowlers had to toil for nearly three hours.

However, with spinners Ramesh Powar and Iqbal Abdulla bowling long spells, the fast bowlers got some rest.

Resuming on the overnight score of 123 for four, Mumbai lost Omkar Khanvilkar on the fifth ball of the day, caught at first slip off left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra.

Iqbal Abdulla was the next to fall, to a ball that turned viciously to hit the leg stump. Abhsihek Nayar, who scored a century in the first innings, was bowled by a Mishra ball that turned and kept low.

While Delhi don't have much to boast of in this match, the performance of the 17-year-old Mishra might be the biggest gain for them. The tall spinner with a lazy high-arm action took six wickets in the second innings to add to this first innings tally of four.

Delhi in their second innings were a beaten team, batting to survive two sessions. Even Mumbai fielders did not push themselves hard, probably not wanting to risk injury ahead of the important clash.

But in Mysore, as Jaffer said afterwards, a match will be on.