Muzumdar makes century but Mumbai crash out
Saurashtra 484 (Kotak 168*, Jadeja 87, Mangela 5-105) drew with Mumbai 463 (Muzumdar 187, Rahane 149, Jobanputra 5-116)
It's official. Saurashtra have clinched a place in the Ranji Trophy semi-finals at the expense of the defending champions Mumbai and, as Group A runners-up, will play Uttar Pradesh in Baroda next week.
Once news came in that Delhi had also made the last four, shutting out Mumbai in the process, this match lost any significance and the captains had no hesitation in calling it off before the mandatory overs. By then Amol Muzumdar had celebrated his 100th Ranji game with an aggressive 187 and Ajinkya Rahane compiled 149 but it was Saurashtra who took the honours with the first-innings lead.
Muzumdar, Mumbai's captain, who yesterday said he wanted to go out and enjoy the last day, played a refreshingly positive innings with shots around the ground but will be disappointed with what followed his exit. Rohit Sharma survived a confident appeal for caught behind off Sandeep Jobanputra before playing a casual shot to the covers. Ramesh Powar attempted an atrocious pull off his first ball and Vinayak Samant fell in a similar manner. When Abhishek Nayar (41) fell edging a cut and Mun Mangela top-edged a pull to Jaydev Shah, Mumbai had folded up and denied themselves some consolation points as they left the tournament.
Jobanputra turned in a tidy spell in the late afternoon to pick up a deserving five-for as Mumbai's recent woes against left-arm seamers continued. He got the ball to straighten off a length and sent down a few short ones as Mumbai's batsmen committed hara-kiri.
The seam bowlers, barring an incisive Jobanputra, were guilty of bowling short and Muzumdar made them pay with some powerful cut shots. He brought up his hundred with one such stroke and the ensuing celebration - the wind-up of the fist, a hop of joy, the bat raised high to the dressing room and to the sparse crowd - showed how important the occasion was in his 14-year first-class career.
His joy, however, was nothing compared to the elation expressed by at stumps by the Saurashtra players, who got into a huddle before shaking hands with the opposition. Their dream season continues.
Sriram Veera is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo