The host’s left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan almost pulled the rug from under Punjab with an astonishing nine-wicket second innings haul (11.5-2-23-9) on a dramatic fourth and final day in their Ranji Trophy Group A League, resulting in the visitors getting shot out for 59 runs in 23.5 overs.
The youngster’s career-best effort in first-class cricket overshadowed Rohit Sharma’s stroke-filled 203 and Manpreet Grewal’s pace and swing (28-8-87-5) at the Wankhede stadium.
Having lost the race for first innings points due to a 95-run deficit, Mumbai’s desperate attempt to pull off an outright victory chasing down 155 in 10 overs did’t happen. Captain Harbhajan Singh’s calm presence and absence of field restrictions helped the visitors escape with a draw.
Abhishek Nayar and Rohit opened and rattled up 49 in four overs of breathtaking Twenty20 type strokeplay, nine fielders on the ropes unable to restrict a stream of fours and sixes. Play was called off after six mandatory overs, with Mumbai at 61 for two.
Punjab deservedly gained three points, swelling its tally to 32 and ahead of the pack in Group A. Mumbai was left licking its wounds with one point (aggregating 10) after getting bowled out for 485 in the first innings, faced with a daunting 580 to overhaul.
The home team fought back on the fourth day, with Chavan making things happen. Ajit Agarkar handed the ball to his young spinner in the second over and he struck with his second ball, dismissing the talented opener Jiwanjot Singh.
He claimed eight more wickets, beating the trigger-happy Punjab batsmen with tight line and spin off the pitch, adding to his first innings haul of three wickets for a match haul of 12 and earning praise from rival captain Harbhajan.
Karal Goel’s 23 at number seven was Punjab’s top score.
The scores: Punjab — 1st innings: 580.
Mumbai — 1st innings: K. Pawar c Jiwanjot b Harbhajan 78, A. Tare c & b Grewal 18, A. Rahane c R.I. Singh b Kaul 31, Rohit (run out) 203, H. Shah c Kaul b Grewal 54, A. Nayar c Jiwanjot b Harbhajan 51, D. Kulkarni c Goel b Grewal 0, A. Chavan c Kaul b Grewal 0, A. Agarkar c Ravinder b Grewal 0, R. Powar c Bipul c Harbhajan 1, B. Sandhu (not out) 16; Extras (b-4, lb-14, nb-11, w-4): 33; Total (160.3 overs): 485.
Fall of wickets: 1-32, 2-106, 3-193, 4-370, 5-428, 6-429, 7-429, 8-429, 9-432.
Punjab bowling: Sandeep 30-5-79-0, Grewal 28-8-87-5, Kaul 26-3-86-1, Harbhajan 42.5-7-95-3, A. Singh 12-0-45-0, Bipul 19-0-68-0, M. Singh 2-0-7-0.
Punjab — 2nd innings: J. Singh c K. Pawar b Chavan 7, R.I. Singh c Tare b Chavan 1, M. Singh c & b Chavan 2, U. Kaul lbw b Chavan 4, A. Singh c Shah b Powar 1, Harbhajan c Sharma b Chavan 4, K. Goel c Shah b Chaven 23, S. Kaul (not out) 9, Bipul c Pawar b Chavan 0, Sandeep c Tare b Chavan 0, M. Grewal b Chavan 2; Extras (lb-1, nb-3): 4; Total (23.5 overs): 59.
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-9, 3-16, 4-17, 5-17, 6-25, 7-53, 8-53, 9-53.
Mumbai bowling: Sandhu 3-1-12-0, Chavan 11.5-2-23-9, Powar 5-0-19-1, Agarkar 4-3-4-0.
Mumbai — 2nd innings: A. Nayar (not out) 26, Rohit c Jiwanjot b Kaul 28, A. Tare c Harbhajan b Sandeep 5, A. Chavan (not out) 0; Extras (b-1, w-1): 2; Total (for two wickets, six overs) 61.
Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-56.
Punjab bowling: Grewal 2-0-35-0, Kaul 3-0-18-1, Sandeep 1-0-7-1.