It turned out to be a great day for the West Zone sides. Mumbai and Saurashtra, who were pitted against Punjab and Uttar Pradesh respectively in the preliminary quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, advanced in different manners to the next stage. While Mumbai eked out a three-run win over the North Indian side, Saurashtra hammered Uttar Pradesh by seven wickets.
At Motera, Punjab won the toss and, hoping to exploit the early moisture, invited Mumbai to bat. Mumbai found themselves at sea against the new ball bowlers and were reduced to 21 for 3. While Sushant Marathe was dismissed by Love Ablish for five, Ajinkya Rahane was run out by Jaskaran Singh. Jaskaran, who’s been the leading wicket-taker in Vijay Hazare Trophy, broke through Rohit Sharma’s defences to send jitters in the Mumbai camp.
However, this was to be the day of a newbie. Parag Khanapurkar, a 23-year-old left-hand bat, joined his skipper, the veteran Wasim Jaffer. Together, the two pulled their side out of trouble.
Even after Jaffer was dismissed for 35 in the 20th over, with the score reading 83, Khanapurkar continued in his belligerent mood. It didn’t look as if anything troubled him. While wickets kept falling around him, he went about with his strokes, picking 10 fours and 2 sixes in his 118-ball unbeaten 123.
Mumbai were all out for 227 in the 47th over - a below-par score but much better than what they were looking likely to get.
The Mumbai bowlers kept their opponents under a tight leash, and although Mandeep Singh got 70, the rest couldn’t manage to overhaul the target.
Mumbai 227 in 46.3 overs (P Khanapurkar 123, W Jaffer 35)
Punjab 224 in 49.1 overs (Mandeep 70, A Raut 2/30)
Jaidev Unadkat was the man who started the Uttar Pradesh slide. The paceman bowled Tanmay Srivastava and followed it up by running out Eklavya Dwivedi.
UP were struggling and when skipper Mohammed Kaif was bowled by Jayesh Odedara, they were tottering at 32 for 3. Murtaza got a useful partnership with Ashish Yadav. Piyush Chawla’s late burst of 48 (from 44 balls) took Uttar Pradesh beyond 200.
In reply, Saurashtra lost early wickets but Sitanshu Kotak and Sagar Jogiyani got the right support from the other end to see his side through.
Uttar Pradesh 204/9 (A Murtuza 67, P Chawla 48, J Unadkat 3/44)
Saurashtra 205/3 in 40.3 overs (S Jogiyani 102 n.o, S Kotak 69 n.o)