Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
Mumbai 71 for 1 (Rohit 33*) beat Bihar 69 ( Rahmatullah 18, Deshpande 5-23, Mulani 3-18) by nine wickets
On a track with some carry for those able to crank it up, Bihar folded for 69 against Mumbai in a nine-wicket defeat at the Just Cricket Academy Ground in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018-19 quarterfinal.
Seamer Tushar Deshpande took his first five-wicket haul in his sixth List A game to bowl Bihar out in 28.2 overs. Desphande's first spell netted him 4 for 16 in six overs, reducing Bihar to 34 for 4 in the 12th over, and there was no recovering from that. Only Babul Kumar and Rahmat Ullah, the No.3 and No.4 batsmen, got into double figures, and no batsman could cross 20. No partnership was worth more than 15 either, with Mumbai's bowlers not giving any breathing room from start to finish. Their batsmen needed a mere 12.3 overs to reach the target, getting there when Rohit Sharma pulled the ball for four.
The only time Mumbai faced any sort of trouble was before the start of the 11th over, when a fan jumped the fence and ran to the middle to hug Rohit and touch his feet, causing a hold-up in play. That might have contributed to Akhil Herwadkar losing his concentration, to be caught behind, but that apart, it was a stroll for Mumbai.
This was the first match pitting one of the new teams in India's biggest ever domestic season against an established one. Bihar were the top team in the Plate Group, beating other newcomers handily, and even registering a record 292-run win against Sikkim, but the gulf between the best of the newcomers and the top dogs of India's domestic cricket is still a wide one.
Mumbai captain Shreyas Iyer put Bihar in after winning the toss, and from the start, their batsmen never looked comfortable. Dhawal Kulkarni and Deshpande worked up good pace, with Desphande in particular, getting the ball to bounce appreciably too. He struck with his third ball - a lifter that had Vikash Ranjan nicking behind to Aditya Tare. Deshpande then struck in his third, fifth and sixth overs, and Bihar were all at sea.
Left-arm spinner Shams Mulani then got into the act with two quick wickets, and Rahmatullah ran himself out in a mix-up with Samar Quadri. Deshpande completed his five-wicket haul in his second spell to finish with 5 for 23. With Bihar in freefall, Iyer even brought himself on to bowl his part-time legbreaks and ended up with the third List A wicket when Anunay Singh was out caught behind. Mulani cleaned up Ashutosh Aman in the next over to end with 3 for 18.
"It is very easy to get complacent when we play against Bihar, but it is important to keep doing the right things," 23-year-old Deshpande said. "I can't spray the ball around and give away runs. If we are playing a team like Bihar, as Mumbai we should get them all out under 100 - this was our plan today. So it was a good show by us. We were playing as if we are playing Bengal, we weren't thinking we are playing Bihar.
"I'm happy with this performance but I'm not satisfied," he added. "If I bowl with the same intensity in the semifinal or final, then I'll be satisfied. I wasn't bowling the way I bowled today in the league games. I don't know how quick I am, I haven't clocked myself on the speed gun. But I like to bowl quick, I am here because I can bowl quick. I have picked wickets in the Ranji Trophy just by bowling quick, nothing extraordinary."
The sparse but vocal crowd that had gathered at the ground on the outskirts of Bangalore on Sunday was hoping for a Rohit special, and though Bihar's meagre total denied them, they did get to see a couple of pleasing cuts, a disdainful smack over the bowler's head for six, and one that went over midwicket.
At the start of the chase, Rohit and Herwadkar seemed to be almost having a net session, and the low total had afforded them that luxury. They weren't in any particular hurry, concentrating more on getting their shapes right than actually looking to pierce gaps. That Sabir Khan bowled five wides in the opening over didn't help Bihar either.