Mumbai v Gujarat, Ranji Trophy, 9th round, 2nd day December 30, 2012

Mumbai all but through to quarters after Jaffer 171


Mumbai 323 for 5 (Jaffer 171, Shah 82) lead Gujarat 244 (Parthiv 101, Chavan 3-54) by 79 runs

Wasim Jaffer has been Mumbai's go-to man for the better part of his 17 seasons with the domestic giants. As a result, it was unusual for the prolific batsman to go into the last game of the league stage of a Ranji Trophy season without a century under his belt. But when Mumbai required Jaffer to deliver, the opening batsman came good with a big hundred to help the hosts attain the first-innings lead against Gujarat in a Group A match at the Dr DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Thanks to Jaffer's 171 and his 213-run partnership with Hiken Shah for the third wicket, Mumbai ended day two at 323 for five, 79 runs ahead of Gujarat's first-innings total of 244. And the three points that they have in all likelihood ensured for the first-innings lead mean that the 39-times champions are all but assured of a place in the quarter-finals.

Gujarat, on the other hand, will hope for Madhya Pradesh to register a come-from-behind victory against Saurashtra in Rajkot in order to progress to the last eight.

The day belonged to one man, who is reputed for his stylish batting. With Mumbai starting the day at 24 for 1, they had to avoid early damage. And the manner in which Jaffer started the day would have rung alarm bells for Gujarat's bowlers. In the second over of the day, Jaffer first flicked left-arm seamer Rush Kalaria through midwicket and then drove him on the on-side for boundaries. In the next over, he dispatched Ishwar Choudhary's short ball to the midwicket fence with an elegant pull. And then drove Kalaria straight down the ground for his fourth boundary of the morning.

Jaffer, who had missed the first three games of the season since he was on pilgrimage, and then missed the Punjab tie due to a close relative's death, continued his onslaught, despite Kushang Patel getting rid of Aditya Tare. And after completing his fifty off left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhurv, the most successful spinner this season, Jaffer cut loose.

Jaffer plundered 15 runs in a Dhurv over, hitting a six and a boundary over mid-on and then pulling the bowler through midwicket. This gave ample time to left-hand Shah to get into his groove. As a result, with Jaffer scoring at will, Shah could afford to play out a lot of dot balls before starting to rotate the strike regularly.

Jaffer ended the century drought by steering Kushang Patel to the third-man boundary after lunch. His 30th Ranji hundred came after a year, the first since his twin hundreds against Saurashtra while batting in the middle order last year. The century also brought him within one ton of Ajay Sharma's record of 31 Ranji centuries.

Jaffer was all set to carry on into the third day's play. But soon after Shah fell short of his fourth century of the season, Jaffer had a lapse in concentration. With Gujarat opting for the second new ball after Mumbai had gained the lead, Jaffer first played an uppish drive off Kalaria straight to Chirag Gandhi, who made a mess of it. The next ball, another lazy drive took the edge of his willow and flew into the slips, where Samit Gohel took an excellent diving catch. It ended Jaffer's commendable effort, which included 21 boundaries and a six.

But by then, Jaffer, who termed the knock as "satisfying, especially since it was important for me to be around till we ensured the lead", had taken Mumbai to a virtual safety. And the former Mumbai captain had also relieved his team-mates of being under pressure over New Year's Eve and the New Year's Day, since the last two days' play is largely going to be an inconsequential for them.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • syed on January 1, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    Mr. Sandeep Patil please give him chance to Jaffer to be test team.

  • Brian on December 31, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    Amit Agarwal...if the match duration is same for every team what stopped the other teams from gaining first innings lead...and how can 39 titles be testimony to Mumbai's slow and boring batting (Really didnt understand the connection)...have you bothered to go through scorecard of each and every match of Mumbai when they won 39 titles...before making baseless statements remember that MUMBAI will always be the champion team and I do realise that other teams supporters will continue to despise it like the way you do....But then so are Man Utd the most hated team in England.

  • Dummy4 on December 31, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    @ brianpinto, there is no place for ifs & buts in cricket. The match duration is same for every team, point is other teams have won more games than Mumbai. & Mumbai's record 39 titles are testimony to the fact they often they have batted teams out of the games with their boring & slow batting, & gained first innings lead. Period. Lets see how far they go without unearthing real bowlers in this new format. Luckily they won against MP, but they cant be lucky all the time. If Mumbai want to remain dominant in Ranji, they need to find bowlers, much like the current Indian team. else all will be downhill from here on.

  • Brian on December 31, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Somebody mentioned that if Mumbai progress it will be shameful...LOL

    You have conviniently forgotten how Ranji is played over 4 days. If they have a normal 5 day affair, Mumbai would have won 3 matches outright (Including the one against Punjab against whom they conceded first innings lead). Quite a few of Mumbai's players have got a raw deal including Jaffer and Nayar. Even Rahane has forced his way into the Indian team only when people noticed his IPL performance. Though Rohit Sharma has benefited, that has been due to his proximity to Dhoni and his 'talent'. I can understand your frustration though since know Mumbai's success has lot of people envying them.

  • Mozammil on December 31, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    jaffer random comback after offering Hazz has been great so far , it shows his quality and class . India test suad is fragile now this quality player must get a chance to adjust at any position of bating order .

  • Dummy4 on December 31, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    If Mumbai, progresses then it would be shameful reflection of the state of Ranji trophy, a team with only 1 win will reach quarters, whereas MP with more wins will be out if they do not win the match against Saurashtra, this means if they had played for a draw against Mumbai in the last game, they would have been sitting pretty by now. So much for the positive cricket. Mumbai's Tactics have always been safety first, no wonder they have never produced good international class bowlers. Mumbai at least in the current season is the least deserving team to be in the Knock outs.

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    If Rohit Sharma and m.vijay are getting so many chances in indian squad then why this man was dropped and not recalled.

  • Munawar on December 30, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    Against the Australians, Jaffer must be in for Tests at the top of the place of either Sehwag or Gambhir. Rahane should be his opening partner. Both Sehwag and Gambhir need rest. Hope Sandeep Patil is listening.

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    It is really sad that Jaffer could not stay in Indian Test Team ...!! congrat for another Giant inning....!!!

  • pradeep on December 30, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    Jaffer should be in Indan Team if Ranji performance do really counts.....if not than open the Test innings on the basis of IPL with yousuf pathan

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