Bengal kept Mumbai’s ambitions of a runaway victory in check on the penultimate day in the fourth round of the Ranji Trophy league at the Brabourne stadium here on Monday. The visitors produced a disciplined bowling effort to deny established stroke-makers Wasim Jaffer and Rohit Sharma any leeway in the second innings.
Needing 391 to win after the home team declared at 294 for five, Bengal openers Rohan Banerjee and Arindam Das negotiated 16 overs of pace and spin with caution to reach 47 for no loss, setting the stage for a fitting finale. Bengal needs 344 runs on the fourth day, confronting a balanced Mumbai attack.
In pursuit of its first victory after three back-to-back draws, Mumbai tested the Bengal openers with double-spin attack of Ramesh Powar and Ankit Chavan too, but Banerjee (23 batting, 60b) and first innings hero Das (19 batting) kept their heads down and lived to fight another day.
Mumbai has begun to rely on Hiken Shah’s abilities as a grafter so far this season and the left-hander has been a revelation. Carrying on the confidence showcased in his knock of 94 against England in a tour game, Hiken ((118, 209b, 15x4) proved once again the virtues of shot selection and patience at No. 3.
Hiken has notched up three centuries in consecutive games — 140 against Rajasthan, 156 versus Hyderabad and this one against Bengal. Abhishek Nayar slogged his way to a hard-earned unbeaten 73 off 90 balls in 158-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Mumbai declared 40 minutes before stumps setting Bengal a challenging target.
Mumbai — 1st innings: 297.
Bengal – 1st innings: 201.
Mumbai – 2nd innings: W. Jaffer b Ahmed 19, K. Pawar c Tiwary b Jhunjhunwala 31, H. Shah c S. Das b Ahmed 118, Rohit b Shukla 14, A. Nayar (not out) 73, A. Tare c Saxena b Veer Pratap 19; Extras (b-11, lb-7, nb-1, w-1): 20; Total (for five wkts. decl. in 74.4 overs): 294.
Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-72, 3-113, 4-271, 5-294.Bengal bowling: Veer Pratap 14.4-0-82-1, Shukla 15-6-30-1, Saxena 12-2-33-0, Shami 19-5-39-2, Jhunjhunwala 14-0-92-1.
Bengal — 2nd innings: R. Banerjee (batting) 23, A. Das (batting) 19; Extras (b-4, nb-1): 5; Total (for no loss in 16 overs): 47.
Mumbai bowling: Kulkarni 4-2-9-0, Salvi 4-1-17-0, Powar 4-0-13-0, Waingankar 2-2-0-0, Chavan 2-0-4-0.
Keywords: Ranji Trophy