Saurashtra through as spinners run through MP
Saurashtra 242 (Vasavada 54, Jackson 53, Makvana 51, Pandey 3-43) and 303 for 4 dec (Pujara 203*, Vasavada 55, Pandey 3-51) beat Madhya Pradesh 135 (Joshi 3-17, Unadkat 3-20, Jadeja 3-51) and 183 (Saxena 75, Jadeja 6-51, Makvana 3-43) by 227 runs
Along with the paucity of quality spinners in India, probably as big an issue could be the inadequacy of domestic batsmen against good spin bowling. Madhya Pradesh provided the latest example of that, losing eight wickets for 45 runs in 22.1 overs to hand the remaining quarter-final spot in Group A to hosts Saurashtra. And it wasn't even an experienced slow bowler who did the damage. It was 22-year old debutant left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, bowling with a classical pivot, who ran through MP to finish with six wickets in the innings and nine in the match.
MP shouldn't have lost so many batsmen so quickly for so few. The dry Khandheri pitch, over which MP had had reservations since taking their first look at it, could not be blamed, save for the captain Devendra Bundela's dismissal. Yes, batting had not been easy on the slow, low and slightly uneven surface, but as Cheteshwar Pujara on day three, and Jalaj Saxena and Rameez Khan this morning, had shown, runs could be made with application.
Saxena and Rameez batted positively without any major alarms for close to 90 minutes today. About the only problems they faced a few times were getting beaten on the cut with extra carry and on the pull with low bounce. Rameez had himself to blame for his dismissal, something applicable to every MP batsman except Bundela.
Jadeja had been flighting almost every delivery vigorously, his pivot, shoulder and height earning him the extra lift from the pitch which no other spinner managed. Rameez, on 31, pushed at such full delivery from the crease, instead of getting forward; the ball dipped and hit the stumps.
Bundela and Saxena had settled down again when ten overs later, one of Jadeja deliveries reared at Bundela from a pitched-up length and the surprised MP captain edged it behind. The procession had just begun.
Udit Birla pushed forward to a generously tossed-up Jadeja ball and played for the spin. But, he left a huge gap between bat and pad and the straighter one sneaked in.
Then, it was the turn of the experienced Kamlesh Makvana, a steady but accurate offspinner, to take a wicket. Harpreet Singh padded up to his fourth delivery, but that isn't the right shot to play when the ball is full and has pitched in line with the stumps. Three deliveries later, Ankit Sharma lunged forward with bat in front of pad, only for the ball to pop up to forward short-leg tamely.
Saxena, who had made a second-innings hundred against Mumbai in MP's previous game, was watching the proceedings from the other end. Saxena had batted solidly, pulling and driving the sharp Jaydev Unadkat for boundaries. Off the last delivery of Makvana's next over, probably looking to keep the strike, he stepped out, but in trying to turn the ball to leg, he only got a leading edge to the bowler.
Lunch was now delayed and the end came soon. Ishwar Pandey slogged a few sixes before hoicking Jadeja to deep midwicket. The left-arm spinner, despite inviting the batsmen to drive and loft most of his deliveries, went for below two runs an over with figures of 26.4-8-51-6.
Jadeja, the second-highest wicket-taker in this season's Under-25 CK Nayudu Trophy, was told a few years ago by an age-group coach not to pivot so much in his action. But the young spinner had the confidence to stick to his method. "I modified my action for some time and found that I was not getting wickets," Jadeja told ESPNcricinfo. "I went and told the coach I would continue with my old action. It comes naturally to me."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo