Zaheer, Dabholkar shine after the 40-time champion takes a two-run lead
The policemen at the stadium here, furiously clicking one man for the last two days, had a new ‘target’ to ‘capture’.
He was one of them, a Deputy Superintendent, who flattened the much-rated Mumbai batting wealth and kept Haryana in the race with a five-wicket haul that gave the Ranji Trophy contest an interesting touch.
Thanks to Joginder Sharma exploiting the conditions, Mumbai’s first innings lead was restricted to just two runs. By the evening on the second day, Haryana had compiled 224 for nine.
Resuming at 100 for four, with indications pointing to domination, the Mumbai innings faltered and lost its way, unable to read neither the pitch nor the opposition.
Joginder was nagging, if not always intimidating. He bowled within his limitations but bowled up, got the ball to seam and sliced through the Mumbai middle-order.
His haul included the scalp of Ajinkya Rahane, who has looked the best of all batsmen in the match thus far.
Rahane, 44 overnight, added just seven runs before Joginder struck, foxing the batsman on the front foot.
Next ball accounted for Aditya Tare, taken at second slip, and soon Hiken Shah and Javed Khan were added to his tally.
Mumbai had lost the upper hand as Haryana showed greater resolve in keeping the fight on. Joginder led the team out and the onus shifted to the home batsmen. They had to perform for the sake of Joginder’s effort, not to forget Harshal Patel and Mohit Sharma.
Game of tactics
The afternoon session was a game of tactics. Mumbai, with relentless prompting by Sachin Tendulkar from mid-on, experimented and innovated with the line of attack and field placements but Rahul Dewan and Sunny Singh showed exemplary character in defying the attack. Their 85-run stand gave the match the much-needed competitive fillip with Sunny entertaining the crowd with some robust hitting. His 11 fours spoke for his ability to pick the bad ball and hit it hard to beat the heavy outfield. Dewan, a product of Delhi cricket, preferred the straight bat and patience.
The home team closed the day on a healthy note with Harshal Patel swinging his bat to slam two sixes and a four even as a frustrated Mumbai, with Zaheer Khan and left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar picking up four wickets each, toiled hard. A day of intrigue awaits the crowd on Tuesday with locals, including the enthusiastic policemen, fervently hoping for another Tendulkar viewing,
The scores: Haryana — 1st innings: 134.
Mumbai — 1st innings: Wasim Jaffer c Khod b Joginder 14, Kaustubh Pawar b Hooda 8, Ajinkya Rahane lbw b Joginder 51, Sachin Tendulkar b Mohit 5, Abhishek Nayar c Jayant b Mohit 24, Dhawal Kulkarni (not out) 25, Aditya Tare c Rana b Joginder 0, Hiken Shah c Saini b Joginder 2, Javed Khan c Dewan b Joginder 0, Zaheer Khan lbw b Patel 0, Vishal Dabholkar c Yadav b Patel 2; Extras (lb-3, nb-1, w-1): 5; Total (in 62 overs): 136.
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-32, 3-38, 4-94, 5-107, 6-107, 7-113, 8-117, 9-120.
Haryana bowling: Mohit Sharma 16-6-36-2, Harshal Patel 19-3-47-2, Ashish Hooda 11-3-22-1, Sachin Rana 5-2-12-0, Joginder Sharma 11-5-16-5.
Haryana — 2nd innings: Nitin Saini c Tare b Zaheer 9, Rahul Dewan c Tare b Dabholkar 44 , Sunny Singh b Kulkarni 63, Abhimanyu Khod c Dabholkar b Zaheer 8, Jayant Yadav b Dabholkar 45, Sachin Rana lbw b Dabholkar 19, Ajay Jadeja c Rahane b Zaheer 0, Joginder Sharma c Tare b Zaheer 2, Harshal Patel (batting) 20, Mohit Sharma c Pawar b Dabholkar 0, Ashish Hooda (batting) 2; Extras (lb-3, nb-7, w-2): 12; Total (for nine wkts. in 68 overs): 224.
Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-97, 3-113, 4-153, 5-186, 6-199, 7-201, 8-203, 9-206.
Mumbai bowling: Zaheer Khan 19-2-59-4, Dhawal Kulkarni 12-2-33-1, Javed Khan 10-1-45-0, Abhishek Nayar 10-3-26-0, Kaustubh Pawar 2-1-4-0, Vishal Dabholkar 15-1-54-4.