With both Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh out of the race for quarterfinals, the concluding Ranji Trophy league tie at the Wankhede stadium is reduced to an opportunity for players to showcase their talent without any pressure of expectations.
Mumbai looks more focused against a beleaguered MP side and has a victory in sight in the four-day game, leading by 363 runs in the second innings and eight wickets away on day three.
Hardik Tamore’s confident 113 (131 balls, 12×4, 1×6) allowed Mumbai skipper Aditya Tare to declare the second innings at 238-5 and infuse life into a low-key contest. Mumbai bowlers are on a learning curve, so they will need to show ability and attitude to bowl out MP for an outright win. Shams Mulani and Ankush Jaiswal tasted success, making MP reel at 44-2 at stumps on Day 3.
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For a big-hitter looking to cash in on form this season, Sarfaraz Khan got out in a frustrating manner. The burly batsman let go a ball pitched on leg from Mihir Hirwani, anticipating the delivery to drift down the leg side. To his horror, it pitched in the rough, turned and crashed into the stumps. He faced just nine balls.
Mumbai promoted Shams Mulani in quest of runs, declaring at 238-5 in 48.5 overs. Tamore made the most of second chance, the third century-maker in the game — after Sarfaraz and Aakarshit Gomel — dominating the bowling to pick up 12 fours and a six. Hirwani ended as MP’s best bowler, 4-71.
Earlier in the day, overnight all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer fell seven short of a ton (93 off 116 balls, 11×4, 1×6), paying the price for an attempted sweep against Jaiswal into the fielder stationed at mid-wicket. Four-wicket hauls each by Hirwani and hard-working Jaiswal marked personal highs for lesser-known to step into the limelight.