Mumbai have almost assured themselves of a spot in the Ranji Trophy final. Off-spinner Ramesh Powar ensured that Delhi didn't get the crucial first innings lead with a five-wicket haul.
In reply to the hosts' first innings total of 500, Delhi were bowled out for 211. Mumbai captain Wasim Jaffer refused to enforce the follow-on and his team was 123 for four in the second innings at the end of the third day of the semi-final.
Mumbai, with a lead of 412, will have to play some silly cricket to lose this match from here and are most likely to meet Karnataka in the final.
Mumbai's campaign this season had been affected by some insipid bowling. Barring one instance against Himachal Pradesh, they have been unable to bowl out the opposition twice.
In the previous match against Haryana in Rohtak, it was Powar who got his team the crucial first innings lead with a four-wicket haul. And here at the Cricket Club of India on Tuesday, Powar continued with that form to bowl a devastating post-lunch spell.
It was the first five-wicket haul for any Mumbai bowler this season and it came in a span of 24 balls. The deadly second spell read 5.3-3-9-5. Till then, Delhi were fighting at 188 for four but were bowled out in eight overs.
Powar was introduced from the pavilion end in the 14th over of the day and proved largely ineffective in that spell of seven overs.
He got all his wickets from the far end. Delhi lost overnight batsman Shikhar Dhawan early in the day but Rajat Bhatia and Gaurav Chabra hardly had any problem dealing with the Mumbai attack.
It stayed that way until Jaffer decided to bring Powar back into the attack from the far end, almost an hour after lunch.
The change in ends seemed to do the trick for Powar as he got the ball to turn and also extracted bounce with his tantalisingly flighted deliveries.
In the 72nd over, Delhi skipper Rajat Bhatia tried to sweep Powar and missed the ball to see his stumps disturbed. This was the wicket Mumbai desperately wanted as he looked in sublime touch. The right-hander had hit Iqbal Abdulla for a couple of big sixes.
Next batsman Bisht survived only two deliveries. The third one he faced was pitched on length, the batsman tried to defend.
The ball turned in sharply to find the gap between bat and pad to hit the stumps. Powar had his two-wicket maiden.
Romesh Powar came back in the next over to send back Pradeep Sangwan, who was surprised by the bounce and turn and spooned a catch to short leg.
Abdulla then trapped the in-form Chabra in front of the wicket.
Ishant Sharma battled for a few minutes but had enough of it when he stepped out to Powar only to be foxed by the turn and was stumped.
Last man Parvinder Awana could, at his best, get a thick outside edge, which was caught by Jaffer at second slip, ending the visitors’ first innings and prompting celebrations among his teammates.