The young looking Maharashtra team, with five under-19 players in their playing XI, clinched a thriller against the Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai on Friday to assure themselves of the Ramakant Desai Trophy for the West Zone league One-day tournament.
Chasing 244 to win at the Wankhede Stadium, Maharashtra captain Sairaj Bahutule (26) fell off the last ball of the 48th over. However, No. 10 batsman Anupam Sanklecha (39*) hit Rajesh Verma for two boundaries in the next over to see his team through with seven balls to spare.
While the Maharashtra youngsters coped well with the pressure of facing a more experienced team, the Mumbai top-order disappointed with the bat. Then the whole team had a miserable day in the field, missing almost a dozen run-out and catching opportunities.
The only positive from the game for Mumbai was the innings of youngster Prashant Naik (58 runs, 72 balls, 4x4, 2x6). Playing only his third game for Mumbai, Naik came in at 135 for four and saw the team slump to 148 for seven in the 31st over. He steadied the ship along with Nilesh Kulkarni (25). In the dying overs, Naik gave a glimpse of his big-hitting abilities by scoring 18 runs in the 48th over, in which he hit medium-fast bowler Sanklecha for a six each on either side of the sight screen.
Mumbai thus ended their league campaign with 13 points from four games and will have to cross their fingers for qualifying for the knockouts till the end of the Maharashtra-Baroda match on Monday.
The win ensured Maharashtra the West Zone title and a place in the national knockouts, even if they lose and concede a bonus to Baroda in their last encounter on Monday.
However, if Baroda, who defeated Saurashtra by four wickets at the Brabourne Stadium on Friday, earn a bonus by defeating Maharashtra convincingly, it would put all three teams tied on 13 points. In that case, Maharashtra will be the winners with the most number of bonus points, the team with the better net run rate between Mumbai and Baroda will qualify second.
If Maharashtra beat Baroda, then Maharashtra and Mumbai will make it to the national knockout.
Points tally: Maharashtra 14 (3 matches), Mumbai 13 (4), Baroda 8 (3), Saurashtra –2 (3), Gujarat –2 (3).
Wasim Jaffer c Patil b Sriram 27, Sushant Marathe c Takawale b Sanklecha 2, Ramesh Powar c Takawale b Sanklecha 9, Rohit Sharma c Bahutule b Mundhe 59, Amol Muzumdar st Takawale b Bahutule 15, Prashant Naik c Sanklecha b Mundhe 58, Abhishek Nayar run out 5, Wilkin Mota c and b Bahutule 0, Nilesh Kulkarni c Sanklecha b Paradkar 25, Rajesh Verma not out 9, Swapnil Hazare not out 2.
Extras (b-4, lb-9, nb-7, w-12) 32.
Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) 243.
Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-42, 3-97, 4-135, 5-138, 6-148, 7-148, 8-213, 9-233.
Bowling: Anupam Sanklecha 9-1-55-2 (4w, 1nb), Jitendra Patil 6-0-30-0 (2w, 3nb), Shrikant Mundhe 7-0-47-2 (1w, 3nb), Sridharan Sriram 10-0-44-1, Sairaj Bahutule 10-2-26-2, Nikhil Paradkar 8-1-28-1 (1w).
Pravin Deshetty st Marathe b Kulkarni 49, Rohit Motwani c Marathe b Hazare 8, Hrishikesh Kanitkar c Mota b Powar 26, Sridharan Sriram run out 26, Yogesh Takawale c and b Kulkarni 0, Nikhil Paradkar run out 2, Abhishek Raut c and b Sharma 31, Sairaj Bahutule c and b Sharma 28, Shrikant Mundhe b Verma 7, Anupam Sanklecha not out 34, Jitendra Patil not out 0.
Extras (b-2, lb-10, nb-1, w-21) 34.
Total (9 wkts, 48.5 overs) 245.
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-85, 3-109, 4-109, 5-111, 6-151, 7-180, 8-193, 9-235.
Bowling: 9.5-0-54-1 (1nb, 1w), Swapnil Hazare 4-0-25-1 (5w), Wilkin Mota 2-0-8-0 (1w), Abhishek Nayar 4-0-38-0 (2w), Nilesh Kulkarni 9-0-33-2, Ramesh Powar 10-0-37-1 (1w), Rohit Sharma 10-0-38-2 (2w).
At Brabourne Stadium:
Saurashtra 221 all out in 49.5 overs (Sitanshu Kotak 53, Chirag Pathak 33; Rajesh Pawar 3-38, Rakesh Patel 2-37) lost to Baroda 222 for 6 in 45.2 overs (Connor Williams 55, Pinal Shah 49, Yousuf Pathan 42; Kamlesh Makwana 10-1-43-2, Sandip Jobanputra 2-45).