Solid opening stand caps good day for Mumbai
Mumbai 325 for 3 (Rahane 143, Kukreja 110) v Karachi
Riding on a 247-run opening partnership between debutant Ajinkya Rahane and Sahil Kukreja, Mumbai ended the first day of their Nissar Trophy match against Karachi Urban well-placed at 325 for 3.
Hasan Raza, Karachi's captain, won the toss on a warm morning and decided to put the opposition in to avail the moisture present underneath the surface. A few play-and-misses by the Mumbai batsmen was the best Karachi's opening bowlers, Anwar Ali and Malik Aftab, could deliver as Rahane and Kukreja feasted on a flat track.
Anwar, Pakistan's hero from the Under-19 World Cup, finally got the breakthrough as Kukreja edged a rising delivery behind the stumps to Amin-ur-Rehman after smashing 16 fours in his 110. Rahane soon followed his opening partner back in the pavilion as he was picked up by Uzair-ul-Haq in a similar fashion. Rahane's 143 took 207 deliveries and was compiled with the help of 28 fours.
Even though two wickets in the space of three overs drafted the new batsmen into defensive mode, Karachi failed to take advantage of it. Opting to rest his frontline bowlers after they had toiled hard under the sun, Raza refused to take the new ball after 80 overs as Karachi could only pick up one further wicket. Vinayak Mane, Mumbai's captain, was run out by a direct-hit by Khurram Manzoor from the covers. Hiken Shah and Prashant Naik were the two unbeaten batsmen at close on 38 and six respectively as Raza rued his decision to bowl first after winning the toss.
"We though there was sufficient moisture on the surface to trouble the batsmen early on and hence the decision to bowl first," Raza told Cricinfo. "However, we did not bowl as well as we should and not only did the moisture disappear very quickly, but the batsmen also applied themselves to such an extent that it became really difficult to dismiss them."
Tomorrow looks another long day for the home team as Mumbai will be looking to take full advantage of a wonderful day one. Hasan, however, will be handing over the new ball to his fast bowlers right from start of play and hoping to take early wickets.
"We must strike with the new ball tomorrow, hope the batsmen make mistakes and try and get a bat in sometime during the afternoon," Raza said.
The selection of the touring Mumbai side was severely hampered by pull-outs and non-availabilities and thus gave first-class debuts not only to Rahane and Naik, but also to Iqbal Abdulla, Vikrant Yeligati and Omkar Gurav.