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Odds even in Punjab-Mumbai tie

Mumbai will be satisfied at having restricted Punjab to 220 for 6 after the home team gets off to a resounding start, writes Subhash Rajta.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2006 01:06 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta

It's not often that two sides are satisfied after a day’s play. Given the way, however, the tale unfolded on the first day of their Ranji Trophy encounter, Punjab and Mumbai would both have been content.

Mumbai would be satisfied at having restricted Punjab to 220 for 6 after the home team got off to a resounding start. Punjab, on the other hand, wouldn’t be complaining too much either as they once appeared heading for deep trouble at 100 for 4.

Punjab were cruising along at 83 for no loss before the top-order suddenly collapsed. Openers Ravneet Ricky and Karan Goel looked in fine touch. Both showed lots of patience and concentration in seeing of the crucial opening session.

The duo undoubtedly played well, but they were helped in their cause by the Mumbai attack, which didn’t make them play enough. They pitched it either too short or sprayed it wide of off-stump.

No sooner had the duo given the indications of changing gears, than Goel was caught behind off Wilkin Mota for 38. And that triggered a collapse that saw Gaurav Gupta, Ravneet Ricky and Dinesh Mongia rush back to the pavilion in quick succession. While Gupta was snapped by Nilesh Kulkarni, Ricky offered an easy catch while trying to pull a Hazare delivery. Mongia was caught behind off the very next ball.

With wickets falling in quick succession, Punjab were heading towards a disaster. But before Mumbai could give that final push, they found Punjab skipper Pankaj Dharmani standing in their way.

He hasn’t been in the best of form for a while now, but regained his touch at the most appropriate time. He settled down nicely and then went on to score a gritty unbeaten half-century (67) to bail his team out of trouble.

He had almost drawn the Punjab ship to safe shores when Mumbai dealt a twin blow towards the end to finish the day on, what both sides would feel, is an even keel.

First Published: Dec 10, 2006 01:06 IST