THANKS TO an unbeaten 102 by skipper Abbas Ali, MP registered a 3-wicket victory over lowly Goa in the Ranji Trophy plate group match played at the Usha Raje cricket grounds in the City on Thursday.
MP coach Balwinder Singh Sandhu had a sigh of relief after getting four points in the tournament. MP had a poor show this season against all the teams except against Railways. MP lost to Railways by just 14 runs but against other teams MP surrendered without a fight. MP’s worst performance was against Vidarbha. With this win, MP is placed second from the bottom as it has only four points. Assam tops the table.
Resuming the overnight score of 69/1, MP lost night watchman Ashutosh Jadhav at the score of 83. A misunderstanding between Amit Pal and Jadhav led to the latter’s dismissal. MP got another jolt when Amit Pal too lost his wicket at the same score. He was caught at the wicket of the bowling of D’Souza at his individual score of 37.
MP was staring at defeat when the ever-consistent Mohanish Mishra was back in the pavilion when the team score was 101. Devendra Bundela started off well and relived the pressure of the home team.
When everything was going well, MP lost another wicket. When Bundela tried for a leg glance, he was beaten completely and the umpire had no hesitation in giving him out caught behind. Bundela scored 27 runs with six hits to the fence.
MP had lost half the side for a meager 145 and they still needed 114 with five wickets in hand. Abbas showed grit to stay at the wicket.
On the other end, Murtaza Ali gave good support to his skipper. Abbas Ali took full responsibility on his shoulder and batted like a champion. His cover drives were eye catching. He played one of the best innings in his carrier on Thursday as runs were flowing freely from his blade. He completed 50 with seven boundaries.
Both the batsmen played confidently and the Goa bowlers lost their line and length. Abbas completed his 100 with 15 boundaries and brought MP back from the jaws of defeat.
Mrtaza and Abbas added precious 77 runs for the sixth wicket. Murtaza contributed 13 runs with two boundaries and played for 78 minutes. MP lost seven wickets for 222. Naman Ojha joined his skipper and once again disappointed his team. He was back in the pavilion after scoring just one run.
MP did not lose another wicket as Sanjay Pandey and Abbas played very cautiously. The hosts won the match by three wickets. Abbas scored an unbeaten 102 with 15 hits to the ropes and one over while Sanjay Pandey remained not out with six runs.
Robin D’Souza and Anil Naik captured two wickets each. Despite taking first innings lead, Goa could not control Abbas Ali and lost the match. With this win, MP has four points from five matches.