Rahane and Powar take Mumbai to final
Uttar Pradesh 224 for 6 (Kaif 64) lost to Mumbai 228 for 9 (Rahane 74, Powar 61)
Mumbai survived a dramatic collapse to just about get past the finish line in their Ranji one-day semifinal against Uttar Pradesh at the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur. When Mohammad Kaif won the toss, chose to bat first and Uttar Pradesh managed only 224, there was every chance that Mumbai would canter into the final of India's premier domestic one-day tournament.
Kaif led the way for Uttar Pradesh after Praveen Kumar and Tanmay Srivastava, the two openers, were dismissed with just 43 runs on the board. Anshul Kapoor, the right-handed middle-order batsman, provided some stability, scoring 47. But it was Kaif who did the bulk of the run-getting, managing 64 from 90 balls. Nilesh Kulkarni, the veteran left-arm spinner, was the most effective of the bowlers, with 3 for 41.
Set 225 to win, Mumbai should have had little trouble booking a berth in the final. And for a time it did seem that the Uttar Pradesh bowlers did not have the firepower to restrict Mumbai. When Wasim Jaffer was dismissed for a duck, trapped lbw by Praveen Kumar, there was a sliver of hope for Uttar Pradesh.
But Ajinkya Rahane, the 18-year-old batsman, and Ramesh Powar managed to string together a sizeable partnership for the second wicket. They added 105 for the second wicket, with Powar being used in a pinch-hitting role. Powar rattled off 61 from only 68 balls with 11 boundaries but fell on 107, well caught by Kaif off the bowling of Piyush Chawla. Rahane fell soon after, having topscored with 74.
From a position of strength at 177 for 3, the wickets fell in a heap, leaving Mumbai seriously worried. They lost six wickets for the addition of only 40 runs, and, at 217 for 9, were in some doubt of overhauling the target. But Rohit Sharma managed 18 with the tail and the last two batsmen Usman Malvi and Avishkar Salvi, who struck a late boundary, got Mumbai past the target with one wicket and one over to spare.