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Mumbai 'drop' out of title contention

Kaif ?s presence has worked wonders for UP, who have entered the title round of the prestigious Ranji championship for only the third time.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 18:53 IST
G Krishnan

India player Mohammad Kaif realised his mission of seeing Uttar Pradesh past Mumbai and placing his team in a Ranji Trophy final. On the fourth day at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday, the visitors successfully chased the second innings target of 214, losing five wickets, with more than a day in hand.

The 25-year-old Kaif ’s presence has worked wonders for UP, who have entered the title round of the prestigious national championship for only the third time. UP had reached the final in 1977-78 and 1997-98, losing to Karnataka on both occasions. Having won three games in a row, Kaif is now looking forward to realising his life-time ambition of laying hands on the trophy, the contest for which begins on January 29 -- a day earlier than the scheduled January 30, to allow players enough time to participate in the five-day game and proceed to Pakistan for the One-day series.

Coming back to the match, Mumbai did not give it away on a platter. With UP needing only 175 to win when play resumed, Mumbai began badly with medium-pacer Usman Malvi giving away 12 runs in the day’s first over, and was replaced by Ramesh Powar. The hosts got a breakthrough when Shukla gloved an intended hook off Avishkar Salvi to wicketkeeper Vinayak Samant.

Nilesh Kulkarni’s men fancied their chances but were woefully out of luck. It could have been two wickets in two balls had Vinit Indulkar held on to a Kaif shot off Powar at the long-on boundary. In dropping a sitter, Indulkar became the bane of Mumbai and gave Kaif, then on 17, a lease of life. The very next over, Suresh Raina, on 2, was fortunate when Omkar Khanvilkar was off-target.

With chances going abegging, Mumbai’s campaign also came to a disastrous close. The Mumbai bowlers could only create chances while defending a small target. But with no support from the outfield, there was little they could do. Kaif and Raina continued to make merry, scoring 76 for the third wicket. Raina fell on 44, stepping out to Kulkarni and working the ball straight into the hands of Sahil Kukreja at forward short leg.

Kaif, meanwhile, reached halfcentury in 118 balls with six fours and a six. Soon after, he stepped out to Powar and missed the line on 64, with UP just 16 shy of the target. Gnanendra Pandey’s six over mid-wicket off Kulkarni and a four through covers for the winning runs brought an early finish to the contest.

SCOREBOARD

Mumbai (1st innings): 199 UP (1st innings): 250 Mumbai (2nd innings): 264 UP (2nd innings): Kumar c Khanvilkar b Salvi 14, Shukla c Samant b Salvi 18, Kaif c Samant b Powar 64, Raina c Kukreja b Kulkarni 44, Shamshad c Salvi b Powar 29, Yadav not out 26, Pandey not out 10, extras b-6, wd-3, nb-2 -- 11 Total (for 5 wkts): 216 Fall of wkts: 1-22, 2-54, 3-130, 4173, 5-198 Bowling: Salvi 10-2-27-2, Hazare 5-0-26-0, Kulkarni 20.4-5-64-1, Powar 23-1-81-2, Malvi 1-0-12-0

First Published: Jan 24, 2006 18:35 IST