Ex-India opener Jaffer (171) slams his 30th Ranji ton as Mumbai grab crucial first-innings lead against Gujarat to greatly enhance knock-out stage chances

A classy 171 from Wasim Jaffer virtually sealed Mumbai a berth in the Ranji Trophy knockout stage as the 39-time champions pocketed three crucial points by gaining the first innings lead against Gujarat in their final Group A match at the DY Patil Stadium here yesterday.

On song: Wasim Jaffer in full flow against Gujarat at the DY Patil Stadium yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble

Mumbai finished Day Two at 323 for five with Surya Kumar Yadav and Abhishek Nayar batting on 23 and six respectively. Hiken Shah’s 82 also helped Mumbai gain the 79-run lead.

After Aditya Tare (20) was dismissed earlier in the day, Jaffer and Shah put on a brilliant show to steer Mumbai past Gujarat’s 244.

Jaffer at his best
Jaffer was at his best during his 409-minute knock. The ex-India opener with looked unbeatable on his leg. Anything on his pads was put away
with ease.

The wristy shots were a treat to watch. Surprisingly, the seasoned campaigner flicked the ball several times from outside off-stump to everyone’s

Jaffer, who generally plays along the ground, hit a few lofted shots too. He smacked spinner Rakesh Dhurv over mid-on for a boundary.

Jaffer steered Kushang Patel to the third man boundary to complete his 30th Ranji Trophy ton and first of the season. The run-machine is now one century short of the record held by Delhi’s Ajay Sharma (31) of scoring most centuries in Ranji.

“I was getting the starts, but was unable to convert those into big scores. I am happy to do so. We were looking for the first innings lead. I am glad we could manage it,” said the senior batsman.

Jaffer continued to torment the hapless Gujarat attack as he cut, pulled and flicked with complete authority.

He stamped his class when he effortlessly pulled right-arm medium pacer Ishwar Chaudhary to reach the 150-run mark.

Hiken Shah, who had slammed three consecutive centuries in the beginning of the season, joined hands with Jaffer to ensure Mumbai get the crucial first innings lead.

Newly-married Shah got into the groove after starting cautiously. The duo put on 213 runs for the third wicket in 375 balls.

The marathon stand was finally broken when Samit Gohel dismissed Shah for 82.

Muzumdar first to cross 9,000-run mark
Former Mumbai batsman Amol Muzumdar, 38, who played for three different teams in the domestic circuit — Mumbai (from 1993-94 to 2008-09), Assam (2009-10 & 2010-11) and now Andhra Pradesh (2012-13), yesterday became the first player to cross the 9000-run mark in Ranji Trophy. He reached the coveted landmark during the course of his 146 for Andhra Pradesh against Kerala at Cuddapah. In 131 matches so far, he has amassed 9078 runs with 28 centuries.