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Table toppers stamp their authority again

Mumbai won the last league game of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group at the Wankhede Stadium by nine wickets and shut the entry door to the quarterfinals for Punjab.

cricket Updated: Dec 25, 2011 02:10 IST
HT Correspondent

Late into the last session of the match, Mumbai’s Praful Waghela sent one from Rahul Sharma into the Vijay Merchant stand, the only part of the ground with about a hundred spectators, to complete a comprehensive win over Punjab on Saturday.

While Ankeet Chavan was the architect of the Punjab collapse in the morning, Waghela (57*) and Wasim Jaffer (50*) fulfilled the batting formalities with ease. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/25-12-pg24a.jpg

Thus Mumbai won the last league game of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group at the Wankhede Stadium by nine wickets and shut the entry door to the quarterfinals for Punjab. Had Punjab succeeded in avoiding an outright defeat, they would have remained in contention for a last eight slot.

And the overnight batsmen Uday Kaul (89) and Bipul Sharma (34) kept Punjab in the game briefly, as they added 49 runs, before Bipul fell to Chavan’s left-arm spin.

The flight in Chavan’s delivery was evident, which enabled the spinner to pick up three more wickets. Karan Goel was the next to fall to Chavan, as Waghela caught him at forward short-leg. Punjab skipper Kaul and Harmeet Singh were the other two batsmen to have been foxed by the Shivaji Park player.

Meanwhile, Rahul tried to disturb the rhythm of the Mumbai bowlers as he struck two sixes. But soon after, he was stumped by makeshift wicketkeeper Hiken Shah, who was forced to don the gloves after Sushant Marathe was ruled out of the game with a groin injury midway through the first innings, off Ramesh Powar’s bowling.

Suryakumar Yadav first took over the gloves from Shah and later rolled his arm over to pick up the last wicket of Baltej Singh. Punjab were all out for 330 and left Mumbai 127 to chase. Mumbai then cruised home, losing Kaustubh Pawar’s wicket.

Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni was pleased with the performance of all the replacements to the injured players. He informed that Abhishek Nayar is fit while Sushant Marathe and Aavishkar Salvi are in doubt to make it.

Brief scores: Pun 226 & 330 v Mum 430 & 132/1 (Waghela 57*)