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Mumbai bowlers laid to rest

cricket Updated: Oct 04, 2009 23:25 IST
G Krishnan
G Krishnan
Hindustan Times
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Mumbai have often batted the opposition out, tiring them by occupying the crease for hours. Sometimes this approach gets boring as the batsmen only look to kill time.

But this has been one of Mumbai's important tactics during the 38 times they have won the Ranji Trophy in 75 seasons.

However, on Sunday, the penultimate day of the Irani Cup, Mumbai got a taste of their own medicine.

First, the Rest of India openers Abhinav Mukund (126) and Murali Vijay (91) raised 227 in more than seven hours and 10 minutes, and then, S Badrinath (34) and Manoj Tiwary (80 not out) went into a shell, putting on 78 in 187 deliveries for the third wicket.

When stumps were drawn following a downpour after only 66 overs were possible, Rest were 352 for four (overall lead of 382), having added 181 runs in the day to their overnight 171 for no loss.

There was no bright spot during their partnership. Nor did the Mumbai bowling trouble Badrinath and Tiwary — it lacked bite. Both the right-handed batsmen were desperate to get runs following first innings failures.

Instead of speeding up the scoring and forcing an early declaration to give Rest a chance of winning, they didn't mind taking up time as personal interests took precedence.

Runs under their belt in an Irani Cup tie could help Badrinath and Tiwary get recognition from the selectors.

The Mumbai pacemen did not find much assistance in the wicket, which had got easier for the batsmen on Saturday itself. While 16 of the first 20 wickets in the match fell to medium-pacers, none went to their tribe on Sunday.

Dhawal Kulkarni and Ajit Agarkar struggled to find assistance while eighteen-year-old left-armer Rahil Shaikh was a bad selection and he looked less than ordinary.

He has not made any improvement since his debut last December. The youngster sprayed the ball everywhere except in the right areas to be easy pickings.

There was no spring in any of the Mumbai players’ step, and with heavy clouds hovering over the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium, threatening to open up anytime, the players seemed to have surrendered to the fact that the match was heading towards a draw.