Mumbai v Punjab, Ranji Trophy Elite, Mumbai, 2nd day December 22, 2011

Jaffer breaks record, gives Mumbai lead

Mumbai 308 for 5 (Jaffer 82, Yadav 64) lead Punjab 226 (Bipul 68, Sandhu 5-66) by 82 runs

Wasim Jaffer became the highest run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy and, along with the belligerent Suryakumar Yadav, steered Mumbai past Punjab's first-innings total during a typically elegant knock. Punjab toiled all day but were blunted by Mumbai's ultra-defensive approach in the first session, and later by Jaffer's and Yadav's aggression. With Saurashtra and Rajasthan in strong positions in their games, Punjab's chances of making the quarter-finals were slim.

After losing fast bowler Aavishkar Salvi's services in the third over of the game, Mumbai were also a batsman short because wicketkeeper Sushant Marathe had injured his groin while diving to collect a delivery on day one. Punjab's three medium-pacers moved the ball around on the grassy pitch, making the first session difficult for Mumbai's openers. Kaustubh Pawar and Praful Waghela managed only 55 runs in the 31 overs.

The openers were given very little to drive, and they were tested with movement from just short of a length. A few edges fell short of the slip cordon. Pawar hit his first boundary off his 76th delivery and Waghela matched him for stodginess. Harmeet Singh, who was the most economical Punjab bowler, finally produced an outside edge that carried to first slip to dismiss Waghela. Jaffer's arrival, however, shook the innings from its slumber.

Jaffer took time to judge the pace of the wicket, leaving a lot of deliveries outside off stump as lunch approached. He came back full of purpose after the break, and targeted his favoured areas of square leg and midwicket. Effortless flicks off the pads and wristy drives between mid-on and midwicket got the score moving, and got Pawar to abandon his defensive approach as well. The opener could not carry on, though, and Hiken Shah also went caught behind to Navdeep Sidhu, who deserved some reward for getting consistent away shape and nip.

Yadav, a powerful hitter, stuck to what comes to him naturally and went after the spinners Rahul and Bipul Sharma. He repeatedly charged out to Rahul and lofted him with the turn over mid-off and extra cover. The left-armer Bipul was given the same treatment, which forced him to change his angle to over the stumps. Yadav responded by paddling him fine for another four. Anything short was pulled with disdain. The presence of deep midwicket and deep square leg did not bother him.

Jaffer went past his former team-mate Amol Muzumdar's tournament record with a classy four to the midwicket boundary off Rahul, the stroke also bringing up his fifty. Just when it looked like Jaffer and Yadav would build a big lead for Mumbai, Rahul had Jaffer missing an off-drive and an alert Uday Kaul removed the bails after the batsman had dragged his foot outside the crease. The dismissal had no effect on Yadav, who continued to smash the bowling, swinging length deliveries from outside off over midwicket.

Yadav went past Abhishek Nayar as the highest run-scorer for Mumbai this season but fell lbw, missing an attempted dab to third man off a Harmeet delivery that came in. Mumbai were not ahead by much at 257 for 5, but Ramesh Powar clubbed five fours, walking down the track and lofting the medium-pacers down the ground, to take them past 300. With Salvi and Marathe unlikely to take further part in the match, Mumbai will want the lead to go well beyond 100.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Munawar on December 24, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    Completely agree with Arun Raghu. Against likes of Mukunds, Vijay and Rahane, Jaffer is miles ahead be it in terms of skills, technique, temperament, range of shots, achievements and experience. Jaffer has two double centuries in Tests and one of them on a green top against likes of Steyn, Pollock, Ntini. One poor stint in Australia and he was ignored for ever. Look at Jaffer's domestic record since 2008 uptil now. As if selectors were waiting for a chance to drop him. Gambhir has continuously failed since 2010. Look at his overseas record since 2010. Gambhir's chink in armoury - poor technique against short pitched stuff and playing on the up in cover area on bouncy tracks has proven fatal time and again. But he still persisted with. Jaffer is the most complete batsman in country today after Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag. So is the case of Badri. Badri is the best batsman in country after Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag and Jaffer.Badri is miles ahead of Kohli,Yuvi,Rohit and Pujara

  • Oneil on December 23, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    If Jaffer is so great why isnt he in test team? and please dont tell me there is no space cause better batsmen have cemented spots....Give me just 3 reasons...

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    Wasim Jaffer is a more complete Batsmen (at least for Test Cricket) than the likes of Rainas or yuvis. He deserved a much better long spell in the team but could be termed plain unlucky. I even thought he would have been picked for the last England tour where India was without the service of regular openers and then also he was overlooked. If i was the selector he and Badari would have been my first choice pick, one as the opener and other as the middle order batsmen in place of Mukundus or Rahanes or Raina and thats y i hope i am not a selector nd wil not be one

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2011, 3:01 GMT

    @SirBobJones, Wasim Jaffer has been a very underestimated batsman, I do believe that Wasim deserves this as he is a very classy and experienced batsman....

  • Bob on December 22, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    Token dumb question for the day, sorry in advance. I don't follow - with all the big names in Indian cricket over the years, how can Wasim Jaffer possibly be the highest ever run scorer in the Ranji trophy?! I understand that those big names would have been playing for India a lot rather than domestically, but surely SOMEONE would have scored more than him. Or do they mean the highest number of runs in one season? I'm not out to get him - my sincere congrats to the guy - just commenting is all.

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