Mumbai v Punjab, Semi-final, 1st day March 18, 2005

Muzumdar lifts Mumbai to 251

Cricinfo staff

Punjab 42 for 2 trail Mumbai 251 (Muzumdar 75, Gagandeep 4-67) by 209 runs

Amol Muzumdar helped Mumbai wriggle out of a precarious position on the first day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium. Electing to bat first, Mumbai were jolted in the first session by some controlled medium pace from Punjab and had lost half their side before the lunch break. Gagandeep Singh, the seamer, accounted for three of those wickets while VRV Singh, a 19-year-old fast bowler who has been tormenting batting line-ups around the country, got rid of Vinit Indulkar. But Muzumdar found an able ally in Ajit Agarkar and the two stitched together a plucky 83-run stand.

Ramesh Powar, who invariably comes good when the chips are down, gritted it out for 57 balls as Muzumdar continued the battle at the other end. Muzumdar, who stroked ten boundaries in his dogged 75, finally fell to the left-arm spin of Navdeep Singh but Mumbai had recovered coniderably and finally ended on a competitive 251.

Nilesh Kulkarni ensured that their day got better for Mumbai by dismissing Gaurav Gupta and the dangerous Yuvraj Singh before stumps. Yuvraj, who was flown in last evening from Kolkata, lasted just three balls before handing Kulkarni a return catch. Mumbai haven't lost at home since March 2001. They may need to pull out every ounce of grit to maintain that record over the next four days.