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Part-time Mumbai offie Akhil Herwadkar spins out Punjab in Ranji Trophy

Forty-time champs register outright victory over Yuvraj Singh's Punjab

Mumbai bounced back in style after the disappointment against Andhra to beat Punjab with a bonus point yesterday. And they did it in an unlikely fashion — through the efforts of opening batsman Akhil Herwadkar's off-spin.

Mumbai's part-time off-spinner Akhil Herwadkar in full throttle on the final day of the Ranji Trophy clash against Punjab at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
Mumbai's part-time off-spinner Akhil Herwadkar in full throttle on the final day of the Ranji Trophy clash against Punjab at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK

The part-time spinner grabbed six wickets for 52 runs to bowl out Punjab for 403 in their second innings as Mumbai won by an innings and 12 runs to earn seven points on the final day of their Ranji Trophy tie at the Wankhede Stadium.

'An all-rounder now'
Before this, Herwadkar had claimed a couple of wickets against Tamil Nadu last season. Yesterday's performance has given Herwadkar the confidence to become an all-rounder.

"I would practice bowling in the nets, but never really concentrated on it. Now, I do look at myself as an all-rounder. I am happy to contribute with the ball after not doing well with the bat," said Herwadkar.

Herwadkar, who claimed the prized wicket of Punjab skipper Yuvraj Singh (14) on Saturday, consistently bowled in the rough patch just outside the off stump. After Balwinder Singh Sandhu Jr trapped overnight batsman Himanshu Chawla leg before for 45 in the fourth over of the day, it was Herwadkar's day thereon.

Just when Punjab's Mandeep Singh and Siddharth Kaul were rebuilding their second innings, Herwadkar managed to give Mumbai a breakthrough after Shrideep Mangela took a neat catch at forward short leg. Mandeep, the set batsman, was out for 116. A few overs later, 20-year-old Herwadkar claimed the wicket of Kaul (9) in a similar manner. Sarabjit Ladda (0) was Herwadkar's next victim.

Punjab's talented wicketkeeper Gitansh Khera (86) showed some resistance, but a well-anticipated catch by Suryakumar Yadav at slips ended his superb knock to give Herwadkar a fifer. Barinder Sran holed out at mid-off to Shardul Thakur off Herwadkar's flighted delivery to end Punjab's innings.

Coach Pandit thrilled
"Akhil did a tremendous job. I don't think we should not call him a part-timer now," chuckled coach Chandrakant Pandit. What pleased Pandit was the team's all-round show. "To bowl out Punjab twice with this attack is very creditable. It showed we don't depend on one player. Every member chipped in."

2.32
Akhil Herwadkar's economy rate in his magical spell

Brief scores
Punjab 154 all out & 403 all out (Jiwanjot Singh 91, Mandeep Singh 116; G Khera 86; A Herwadkar 6-52) lost to Mumbai by an innings and 12 runs

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