Mumbai 366 for 1 (Jaffer 204*, Rahane 137*) v Hyderabad
Wasim Jaffer, along with Ajinkya Rahane, whipped Hyderabad into submission as Mumbai dominated the first day at the Bandra Kurla Complex. Hyderabad didn't look capable of dismantling the Jaffer-Rahane combine, which put together a 328-run unbroken partnership for the second wicket. Jaffer's decision to bat paid off spectacularly - he notched up a double-century and Rahane his third century of the season.
Mumbai struggled in the previous game against Saurashtra but were up against a Hyderabad side deprived of their most experienced player, VVS Laxman, to a heel injury.
Unfortunately for the bowlers, all predictions about the conditions supporting movement in the air fell flat as the mercury soared through the day; the heat and humidity caused Shoaib Ahmed, the Hyderabad seamer, to vomit due to dehydration. With little support from the conditions, none of the Hyderabad bowlers managed the control and consistency to threaten the batsmen and Jaffer and Rahane made merry.
Jaffer was initially circumspect but realised the importance of his presence after the early fall of Vinayak Mane, playing his first Ranji game in two years. Mane had surprisingly replaced Sahil Kukreja, who scored a double-century against Delhi. Mane's rustiness showed, he looked tentative and was opened up by a delivery that seamed away.
That was Hyderabad's lone success; Jaffer and Rahane made them toil for the rest of day. By lunch both had reached their half-centuries with ease. The break only increased Jaffer's appetite for runs. A flurry of boundaries followed soon: a late cut was dispatched off Abdul Quadri in the second over after lunch. In the next over, against the left-arm spinner Lalith Mohan, Jaffer turned his wrists at the last minute for another four past midwicket. Though Mohan was successful in beating Jaffer's bat, on 61, the Mumbai captain remained unfazed. His confidence, as he lofted Mohan over long-on for the first six of the game, was apparent.
Jaffer finally had a tense moment on 95, miscuing an attempted pull: the resultant top edge, however, fell in no-man's land, well in front of the man charging in from fine leg. Jaffer soon picked an easy single to bring up his second hundred of the season, the first coming against Gujarat in the second round. He then turned it up a notch, and such was Jaffer's command of the situation that he scored exactly 100 between lunch and tea. By the end of the day he had his third Ranji double-hundred.
Rahane, though a bystander for most of the second session, did not let his captain's strokeplay distract him. He is used to watching Jaffer treat bowlers with disdain both for Mumbai and Indian Oil Corporation, the team the pair represent in the city's corporate league. He proved again he could pace an innings with controlled aggression and, though in only his second first-class season, showed none of that inexperience in matching Jaffer's aggression. His charge against Mohan to deposit the ball over long-on for six was one such example.
As well as the conditions the slowness in the pitch and low bounce helped the batsmen. With the ball coming on nicely at comfortable pace both Jaffer and Rahane had enough time to execute their shots at will.
Arjun Yadav, the Hyderabad captain, failed to attack, though to be fair he didn't get the support from his bowlers and fielders. Hyderabad are still mostly a developing squad - with a bunch of seniors shifting to the ICL - but their sloppy fielding didn't help stop Mumbai dominating.