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January 24, 2007
Mumbai 233 and 109 for 7 (Samant 53*, Patel 4-27) lead Baroda 142 (Yousuf 70, Mota 3-15) by 200 runs
Ten startling minutes of play in Baroda, which had every statistician reaching for the record-books, threatened to turn this match on its head but may end up as just another footnote in this absorbing encounter. By stumps Mumbai had recovered from their disastrous start - a staggering five wickets gone without a run on the board - and now have their noses comfortably in front.
But the talking point, inevitably, was those five wickets that fell to Irfan Pathan and Rakesh Patel between 2-05 and 2-15 p.m. Among the zeroes was one India probable (Rohit Sharma), one India opener (Wasim Jaffer) and a batsman (Amol Muzumdar) who'd just broken a 22-year-old record for the most number of runs scored by a Mumbai batsman in a Ranji Trophy career.
The breakdown, for the record-books:
0.4 overs: Sahil Kukreja holed out at point off a short and wide Pathan delivery. The ball deserved punishment but the shot was gobbled up by Satyajit Parab.
1.6 overs: Wasim Jaffer edged a Patel delivery to 'keeper Shah, who held a smart catch.
2.4 overs: Hiken Shah didn't have a clue whether to play on the front foot or the back to Pathan and his indecision forced him to edge to the slips.
2.5 overs: Rohit Sharma, a double centurion against Gujarat, was a tad unlucky, ruled LBW when shouldering arms to an incoming Pathan delivery.
3.2 overs: Amol Muzumdar, the Mumbai skipper, stayed at the wicket for 10 minutes without scoring but was trapped by Patel plumb in front.
"It was unbelievable", said Vinayak Samant, the veteran Mumbai 'keeper who steadied the ship. "It took a while for us to register what was happening around us."
The carnage, which lasted 17 deliveries, wasn't the worst ever beginning to a first-class match. That record belongs to Surrey v MCC in May 1872, where the MCC's seven wickets for no runs included that of a "Mr W G Grace".
But it did break the Indian domestic record (0-4), previously set by Kerala against Mysore in 1963.
Neither of those two hapless teams had anyone performing a rescue act, but Mumbai had one in Samant, who along with Wilkin Mota, the all-rounder, added 66 runs for the seventh wicket to help Mumbai reach 109-8 at stumps. Samant was batting on 53.
Muzumdar must be thanking his stars that he picked Mota instead of Iqbal Abdullah, the left-arm spinner. He'd already picked up three Baroda wickets as Mumbai skittled out the hosts for 142 before making the most of a dropped chance in the second slip and grafting a precious 33.
Mumbai were doubly fortunate that Samant was in a determined mood today. "I'm a busy kind of a player... I keep working the ball around for ones and twos. Today though, I played in the 'V'. Playing straight minimizes the risk element,'' Samant said.
Later, Muzumdar acknowledged the pair's contributions. "They played exceedingly well. It was an extremely important partnership at that stage. And if we manage to put on a few more on the board tomorrow, I think it will a great contest."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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