Mumbai's pride and reputation were at stake when they were 199-6 at stumps on Wednesday. But the 39-time champions roared back in typical khadoos manner to stun Services after early success.
Skipper Ajit Agarkar and Aditya Tare scored centuries to help Mumbai post 380 for six on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy semi-final at the Palam Air Force Ground in Delhi.
The unbroken 211-run partnership between Agarkar and Tare has given Mumbai a sizeable total. In 65 overs, Mumbai scored 181 without losing any wicket yesterday. Tare was batting on 108 while Agarkar got 113 when play was called off due to bad light. It was wicketkeeper Tare’s second ton of the season while Agarkar scored his first century since 2009-10 (against Himachal Pradesh).
Known for flamboyance
Tare, better known for his flamboyant batting, said it was a challenge to curb his instincts. “It wasn’t an easy wicket. You had to really apply yourself. It’s a slow pitch. I was struggling to bat on it initially. I also took quite a lot of balls. I asked myself whether I would score any runs on this wicket. “Whenever I played a rash shot out of frustration, Ajit would come and tell me the importance of staying at the wicket. He helped me build this innings. He too played a terrific knock,” Tare told MiD DAY.
Tare and Agarkar built the partnership by focusing on achieving small targets. “We told each other that we have to get 50 runs. We did not know when we put on these many runs together,” said Tare.
Tare, who has opened the batting and batted from No 3 to 7 this season, said he had a point to prove.
“I just got one hundred this season. I missed out on many opportunities to score big due to rash shots. So, I was determined not to give up this time. Hopefully, I can score more runs tomorrow and help Mumbai reach the final,” Tare signed off.
Saurashtra in command
In another semi-final at Rajkot, Saurashtra were in command against Punjab. The hosts piled up 477. In reply, Punjab were 41 for no loss at stumps on Day Two.
Zaheer in doubt for final
Zaheer Khan, who sustained a calf injury during Mumbai’s last league tie against Gujarat earlier this month, is likely to miss the Ranji Trophy final if the former champions qualify beating Services.
A team source said: “He is not yet fit and it could take a few more weeks for him to completely recover. At the moment, it is unlikely that he will play the final.”
The India pacer is currently at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.