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WZ qualification goes down to the wire

Mumbai had more than one lesson to learn from their loss to Maharashtra in the West Zone tournament here on Thursday.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 22:49 IST

Mumbai had more than one lesson to learn from their loss to Maharashtra in the West Zone tournament here on Thursday. But it was the winners who learnt that sending their regular opener Dheeraj Jadhav at one-down in the last two games was not so bright an idea after all.

Left-handed batsman Jadhav (91), sent as an opener on Thursday, scored the highest individual score in the tournament so far as his team successfully chased a target of 225, with three wickets in hand, at the Alembic ground.

Put in to bat first, Mumbai had recovered well from a slow start to total 224 for nine. Amol Muzumdar came good again with 50 from 54 balls. Maharashtra managed to reach the target in 47.4 overs for loss of seven wickets. Mumbai have 10 points from their four league games and Maharashtra have seven from three.

But all is not over for Mumbai. They will still qualify for the knock-out stage if Saurashtra defeat Gujarat on Saturday.

In the other match of the day, Baroda defeated Saurashtra with a bonus point, taking their tally to nine. Baroda and Maharashtra play each other in their last league game and the winner of that match will qualify for the next stage.

On Thursday, Mumbai were done in by Jadhav, who had played at number three in the last two games and managed just five against Baroda and six against Saurashtra. But against Mumbai, he showed his true class when he faced the first ball of the innings.

In a flawless knock, Jadhav's technique against Mumbai pacers, especially against in-from Avishkar Salvi was exquisite. His footwork was almost perfect on a track that helped the ball bounce and also seemed to come on to the bat easily.

Jadhav and Sumit Chavan set the tone for the chase with an opening partnership of 88 runs. They not only saw the new ball off but also managed to keep the scoreboard ticking with some quick runs, prompting Mumbai skipper Nilesh Kulkarni to do away with his attacking field placements. Jadhav was finally bowled trying to sweep left-arm spinner Kulkarni.

This gave Mumbai hopes of a comeback. But Mumbai failed to capitalise on two quick wickets. Abhishek Raut (23), who played till the end, was on six when Salvi dropped him at long off, and with about 25-30 runs needed, the game would have opened up. But Raut and Amit Patel ensured that there were no last minute surprises.

Earlier, Mumbai batsmen had a slow start to their batting. The ball was seaming around a bit and with Munaf Patel in full throttle, openers Manish Bangera (23) and Ashok Kadam (45) did well to play out the new ball.

like most of their teammates, Kadam threw his wicket away after having done all the hard work. It was the same with Wasim Jaffer and Hiken Shah.

Jaffer went for a big one and perished caught at deep mid-off in the 29th over when he would have done better by keeping his wicket intact and amassing runs.


Mumbai: (Kadam c Khirid b Munaf 45, Bangera lbw Khirid 23, Jaffer c Sanklecha b Bahutule 35, Muzumdar c Nigde b Kanitkar 50, Hiken b Bahutule 4, Bhavin run out 13, Nair c Chavan b Kanitkar 26, Santosh b Munaf 1, Kulkarni not out 4, Varma run out 6, Extras -- b5, w5, nb 2, lb 5 -- 17).

Total (for nine wkts): 224

Fall of wkts: 1-53, 2-106, 3-112, 4-118, 5-151, 6-197, 7-203, 8-213, 9-224.

Bowling: Munaf 10-1-42-2, Aditya ole 4-1-10-0, Sanklecha 6-1-14-0, Suyash 6-0-34-0, Khirid 9-0-46-1, Bahutule 10-1-38-1, Kanitkar 5-0-30-2.

Maharashtra: (Jadhav b Kulkarni 91, Chavan lbw Nair 34, Nigade c Bangera b Nair 20, Kanitkar c Salvi b Kulkarni 9, Bahutule c Bangera b Varma 15, Khirid lbw Varma 5, Raut not out 23, Munaf b Salvi 8, Patel not out 3, Extras -- lb 6, w 8, nb 3 -- 17).

Total (for seven wkts): 225

Fall of wkts: 1-88, 2-121, 3-165, 4-168, 5-179, 6-194, 7-210.

Bowling: Salvi 9.4-0-41-1, Varma 9-2-45-2, Kulkarni 9-0-34-2, Santosh 3-0-18-0, Mussavir 7-0-32-0, Nair 7-0-35-2, Kadam 3-0-14-0.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 22:49 IST