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Brilliant centurion Jay Bista puts Mumbai on top in Irani Cup

Mumbai opener notches maiden first-class ton as Mumbai post 386-3 against Rest of India

“He is a very talented player, something special for the future. Obviously, he needs time; he needs to be groomed. I am sure if he has the right attitude and works on his game, he will be a great asset for us in years to come.”

It’s almost as if Mumbai batsman Jay Bista was hell bent on vindicating his captain Aditya Tare, who uttered the above words on Saturday, as Bista belted a century for Mumbai against Rest of India on the opening day of the Irani Cup tie at Brabourne Stadium yesterday.

Jay Bista
Jay Bista

Bista slammed his maiden first-class century (104 in 90 balls), while consistent opener Akhil Herwadkar missed his by 10 runs as Mumbai scored an imposing 386 for three.

After Tare opted to bat first, openers Herwadkar and Bista brought up the Mumbai 100 in the 19th over.

Bista, unbeaten on 89 at the lunch break, reached his hundred when he drove pacer Krishna Das’ good length delivery through extra cover region for three runs. However, he was soon trapped leg before wicket while trying to play Das on the leg side. Bista hit 15 fours and a six during his strokeful knock. “It was satisfying knock but I am a bit disappointed to miss an opportunity to play a big innings. But after all, a hundred is a hundred,” said the 20-year-old Bista. The two under-23 matches which he played after being dropped from the Ranji side didn’t exactly have a bad effect on him. “I missed the Ranji Trophy final, but at the same time I played the under-23 final. My focus was on winning the final. Later on, I watched Ranji final on TV and enjoyed it. When I went back to under-23 cricket, I scored a hundred (128) against Baroda in the second innings in a very challenging situation. That innings gave me a lot of satisfaction. It was very challenging to play on a green wicket in the final,” said Bista, who scored 217 in the under-23 CK Nayudu Trophy final against Madhya Pradesh.

Herwadkar, who played a patient knock of 90, was unable to cash in on a life which came in the form a dropped catch at slip by Saurashtra’s Sheldon Jackson when he was on 88. Herwadkar’s innings ended when he failed to read Ankit Rajpoot’s away going delivery which he edged to first slip fielder Faiz Fazal. Bista and Herwadkar put on 193 for the first wicket.

Mumbai’s No 3 batsman Shreyas Iyer appeared to be dealing in boundaries — 40 of his 55 runs were scored through fours in his 49-ball innings. Srikar Bharat, who keeps wicket for Andhra, took a low catch at point to dismiss Iyer off India all-rounder Stuart Binny.

If Rest of India sniffed a chance to restrict Mumbai with the scoreboard reading 272 for three, they were thwarted by a another fruitful partnership — a 114-run unbeaten alliance between Suryakumar Yadav (88 not out) and skipper Tare (38 not out) for the fourth wicket.

Ranji’s top wicket-taker dropped

Jharkhand’s left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem who topped the wickets chart with 51 scalps in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy season, could not find a place in Rest of India’s  playing XI. Rest coach Ashish Kapoor stressed that it was the national selectors’ decision. “They give us the team. We wanted to play only one spinner,” said Kapoor, a former India off-spinner. Haryana’s off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who went wicketless in his 18 overs, was picked instead. The Irani Cup is being watched by chief selector Sandeep Patil, Vikram Rathour and Syed Saba Karim.

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