Mumbai edge thriller to stay on top
A round-up of the latest round of matches of the Vijay Hazare Trophy
Mumbai's last two wickets managed to scramble 22 off 12 balls to set up a one-wicket win against Saurashtra with two balls remaining at the Wankhede Stadium. When Mumbai lost their top-scorer Shoaib Shaikh for 83, Saurashtra were in with a chance to bowl out the hosts, but No. 9 Iqbal Abdulla (29 off 31) and No. 10 Dhawal Kulkarni (15 off 7 with one four and one six) put on 21 runs to reverse the balance. Sandip Maniar (3 for 34) struck in the final over, which meant Mumbai had their last man Kshemal Waingankar facing with one run win. Waingankar held his nerve and took a single to give Mumbai their third win in as many games.
It was heartbreak for Saurashtra who recovered from a middle-order implosion that had left them tottering at 116 for 6 in the 28th over. Waingankar was the wrecker-in-chief, with 3 for 21 in ten overs, laying to waste a rousing start set up by Sagar Jogiyani's breezy 67 off 53 balls. Cheteshwar Pujara's poor run of form continued as he perished for 5 off 25 balls. Thereafter, Chirag Jani (79* off 71) and Kamlesh Makvana (54* off 67) revived the innings with an unbroken 135-run stand that came at run-a-ball. Mumbai's chase too went off the rails early, before Anup Revandkar and Shaikh helped them recover from 41 for 4 and later 114 for 5. The steady loss of wickets set up an exciting finish, and it was fitting that Waingankar scored the winning run after doing the damage with the ball.
Gujarat managed to defend their score of 196 for 9 by two runs against Baroda in another nail-biting game, at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. Though no one from either side managed to grab a clutch of wickets, the game was dominated by bowlers from the outset. Gujarat's innings never took off, with Niraj Patel's 56 off 77 balls offering the only semblance of stability as wickets fell around him. Things look dicey at 133 for 8 in the 36th over, but Mehul Patel (29) and Amit Singh (21) helped their side limp to within four runs of 200 with a 53-run stand. In reply, Baroda's top four all got starts, but none of them managed to push on and make a big score. Baroda strolled to 108 for 2 before their chase went pear-shaped. Four wickets went down for 24 runs in the middle overs, before Rakesh Solanki's 52 steadied the ship. Gagandeep Singh and Swapnil Singh took Baroda closer with a 20-run stand. Baroda were favourites with five to win off 17 balls and three wickets in hand, but a run out and two strikes by Akshar Patel gave Gujarat their first win.