Nayar sizzles, Mumbai and Bengal in final
Mumbai are in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, after they decimated Delhi at the Feroz Shah Kotla. The semi-final was a one-sided affair, with Mumbai's batting stars firing to take their team to 295 for 5 before Delhi collapsed for 155 in 45 overs. All of Mumbai's big-name batsmen contributed with the bat: Ajinkya Rahane scored 42 at the top of the order to give the team a steady start, Wasim Jaffer anchored the innings with his 92 off 110, and Abhishek Nayar's explosive 72, which came off just 41 balls and included eight fours and two sixes, took the total from a competitive one to an imposing one.
Delhi were hurt early by medium-pacer Kshemal Waingankar, who finished with remarkable figures of 8-3-15-2. They slipped to 57 for 5 and never recovered. Anup Revandkar took three wickets, and the spinners finished the job, to make it a 140-run trouncing.
An unbeaten 53 from Wriddhiman Saha helped Bengal beat Punjab by three wickets in a low-scoring match at the Model Sports Complex in Delhi, and join Mumbai in the final. Saha's innings was the key one in a tense, seesawing chase of 206. Bengal looked solid at 86 for 2 but two Rajwinder Singh strikes later they were 98 for 4, which became 111 for 5 when Bipul Sharma dismissed Laxmi Ratan Shukla. Saha forged a 41-run stand with Debabrata Das to swing it back Bengal's way but Punjab kept fighting and took two more wickets before Saha was joined by Shami Ahmed, who smashed 22 off seven balls to bring the match to a quick end.
Punjab had been in big trouble early in their innings when Bengal's medium-pacers reduced them to 34 for 5. Mandeep Singh and Bipul Sharma scored half-centuries, and shared a 104-run stand, to start the recovery. Harbhajan Singh chipped in with 39 to help take the score past 200, but it was not enough.
The final will be played on March 12, at the Kotla.