Mumbai v Saurashtra, Ranji semi-final, Chennai, 3rd day January 6, 2009

Kotak's fall dents Saurashtra's hopes

Cricinfo staff

Saurashtra 247 for 5 (Kotak 89, Shah 45*) trail Mumbai 637 for 6 dec by 390 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

How they were out

Shitanshu Kotak fought hard with a fine 89 but fell in the dying minutes as Mumbai took control © Cricinfo Ltd

Saurashtra's third attempt at making it to the Ranji final is likely to end in disappointment despite a valiant effort from Shitanshu Kotak, who fell in the penultimate over of the day to hand Mumbai control of the game.

Kotak hit a 211-ball 89 but it is unlikely to prove important in the course of a game dominated by Wasim Jaffer's triple-hundred and Sachin Tendulkar's century. All but batted out of the game, Saurashtra's hopes rested on a substantial partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Kotak, batsmen who have the ability to score and dig in for the haul.

But Pujara, who was pretty solid during his innings, fell an over before lunch, which transferred the pressure entirely to Kotak. Jaydev Shah, who came in after Ravindra Jadeja's exit, hung on till the stumps but looked scratchy throughout. Zaheer got him to inside-edge on to his pads in successive balls, Powar cramped him for room with an offbreak that turned more than Shah expected and Ajit Agarkar beat him repeatedly on the length deliveries. He also survived a stumping chance and edged a delivery to keeper that was called no-ball.

Kotak, on the other hand, dealt with reverse-swing skilfully. He took care not to put his front leg in the way, waiting for the ball to come to him. And he dealt well with the occasional bumper barrage from the seamers. He gave only one chance during his stay, when he pushed a slower one back to the bowler Abhishek Nayar, who dropped it.

If Saurashtra manage to hang on tomorrow without getting the first-innings lead, they will go through to the final based on their higher net run-rate, calculated till quarter-final. However, with Kotak's fall, it's an unlikely scenario.