Baroda v Services, Ranji Trophy, Vadodara, 3rd day December 16, 2013

Munaf sends Services crashing to 31

Alagappan Muthu

Baroda 369 (Mistry 118) beat Services 191 (Swain 62, Yashpal 58, Munaf 4-38) and 31 (Munaf 6-13, Gagandeep 4-11) by an innings and 147 runs

Services crumbled to the lowest score of the season - 31 all out - as Munaf Patel grabbed a career-best 6 for 13 and spearheaded Baroda to an innings victory in Vadodara.

Services began at 2 for 1, and still 176 behind. Only two runs were added in the first five overs of the morning when seamer Gagandeep Singh struck. With the opening made, Munaf burst through to leave Services dangling at 5 for 5 in the 11th over. Only two batsmen - none of them from the top order - scored more than 2 and Vishnu Tiwari was the only one to get into double figures with 14, as Services folded in the 20th over and slumped to their second innings-defeat of the season.

"He [Munaf] was bowling sharp and was extracting some good bounce," the Baroda coach Sanath Kumar told ESPNcricinfo. "The pitch suited our bowlers who tend to hit the deck. Going into the day, we were looking to restrict them to around 150, but we never expected something like this to happen."

Kumar said the Services collapse wasn't due to any gremlins in the track. "It was a superb pitch," Kumar said. "There was a lot of bounce, which is normal at the Reliance ground. We expected a little turn for the spinners but there wasn't much, but they were getting good bounce as well. They [Services] did play a couple of poor shots, but we bowled really well."

Notorious for his susceptibility to injury, Munaf returned to first-class cricket after a two-year gap this year and was used rather sparingly. He has played three of Baroda's six games so far, an improvement over a record of 11 Ranji Trophy games in the last six years.

"We save him for the right games," Kumar said. "He is coming out of injury so we have to use him the right way so that when he is picked, he can give it his all. He wasn't doing anything different [today]. He just bowled normally and was excellent for us and was ably supported by Gagandeep Singh"

Deepak Bhaskar, the Services manager, hoped the manner of their defeat was a one-off. "We batted poorly and Munaf did very well by keeping it in the right areas. There were no devils in the pitch. It was a positive wicket," he said. "It is just one of those things that happen in cricket. The batsmen just failed to click."

Baroda's victory was all the more sweet as Irfan Pathan made his first appearance for the season, but he was still "not fit enough to bowl", said Kumar. "He's bowling 20-30 balls a day but will need a couple of weeks [to be fully fit]."

Dhiren Mistry was another positive for the home side as the 22-year old opener converted his third successive fifty-plus score into his maiden first-class century. His hundred in the first innings served as the backbone of Baroda's 369. "It was a very mature innings, especially with the other batsmen being a bit out of touch. He used to go for too many shots and was a little flashy last season, but he's become more compact."

The seven points from the innings win doubled Baroda's tally, reviving a sagging campaign ahead of two away matches to round out the league phase.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sanjay on December 18, 2013, 8:28 GMT


    BTW, you know the state of Indian bowling is bad when Munaf is easily a better replacement than our "spearhead", the erstwhile Ishant. Ironically, they're both good friends. Unfortunately, the two have shared far too many tips.

  • TR on December 18, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    @Analytical_Sathya, yes Munaf is calm guy. He likes no panic, no hurry. Have you ever seen him try for a quick run out? He wont, because he does not want problems, panic, etc. I have seen him so many times not even try to run out the batsmen especially when he is bowling. He wont even come to the bowling end stumps to be ready for run out. Just calm down guys ... we will field at our own leisure.... So what if the batsman scores a few extra runs?.. just calm down..

  • Syed Ibrahim on December 17, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    well done munaf.I think munaf's inclusion in on going series in south africa will boost india's chances of doing well but i don't know why they forget the man who is one of the powerful contributor behind the success in world cup 2011?

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Shewag and Gambhir should be indian squad

  • Android on December 17, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    What an embarassment for services.Well done Munaf Patel

  • ketan on December 17, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    munaf is much better than umesh yadav,dinda,vinay,bhuvanesh kumar, shami. Call him back.

  • ESPN on December 17, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    Some times Munaf becomes dangerous... I think now he is suited for National team against SA test... Can selectors send him to SA to join with our Indian team

  • Sathya on December 17, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    I've read all of your comments. Munaf is not at all a poor fielder.It's just a psuedo perception. Just keeps his body language calm & relaxed. Fielding is not about running like headless chicken. Contrary to perception Munaf is quite athletic. Keep it up Munaf. All the best.-----Sathya,Bangalore

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    Bowlers or India's rejects have realised they still have a chance n the likes of Munaf, RP n Nehra are bending they backs and on helpful wickets are going thru batsmen like a hotknife thru butter

  • Suman on December 16, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    @CricketChat, being a poor fielder and offering nothing with the bat definitely counts against Munaf. MSD hates carrying poor fielders in the side. On top of that, Munaf gets injured far too often to be considered a realistic choice.

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