Mumbai secure finals berth with 63-run win
Mumbai 233 (Muzumdar 97) and 145 (Samant 66, Pathan 4-47, Patel 4-34) beat Baroda 142 (Yusuf Pathan 70) and 173 by 63 runs
Not even the record-breaking injury they inflicted by reducing Mumbai to a crippling 0 for 5 could reverse the result for Baroda. Despite the jubilation in the dressing-room on Wednesday, the ghosts returned to haunt them today.
So, the final scorecard after a game that swung wildly: Baroda lost by 63 runs, falling to their second consecutive semi-final defeat in the Ranji Trophy. Their talismanic figure, Irfan Pathan, scalped 4 for 47, even rediscovering some of the old inswing, but it wasn't enough. Mumbai's four-pronged attack of Rajesh Varma (2-49), Swapnil Hazare (2-41), Wilkin Mota (3-36) and Abhishek Nair (3-38) had crafted a superb comeback, earning them a deserving place in the final.
Pulled out of the dumps by Vinayak Samant's defiant 66, Mumbai set a 237-run target for the hosts. Mumbai's four-pronged pace attack shared all the spoils to engineer the victory bid, bundling Baroda out for 173, 45 minutes before the stipulated close of play.
The Baroda batsmen showed promise initially and added 30 in quick time. But Mumbai's bowlers struck in quick succession to tilt the balance. First, Nair got rid of Connor Williams and then Varma scalped Satyajit Parab on the same score. Mota then castled Rakesh Solanki before Jacob Martin became Nair's second victim. Unlike Mumbai though, the Baroda batsmen never recovered with wickets falling at regular intervals.
Mumbai will look back at Samant's defiant rearguard innings as the one that clinched the advantage. However, he couldn't do much on the final day, adding only 13 to his overnight score. He added 46 with left hander Nilesh Kulkarni (17) as Mumbai folded up at 145. That, though, proved to be more than enough.
"It's a great victory," Amol Muzumdar said after the match. "I would say it's one the finest victories for Mumbai. It's right at the top... this one. If we had to qualify for the semis, we had to win all the remaining matches. And I'm glad the boys did extremely well. Not many would achieve the feat. It takes a lot of courage determination and guts to comeback from 0 for 5."