Delhi: Tailender Javed Khan, batting with a finger injury, saved Mumbai from conceding the follow-on chasing Railways' first innings score of 242 as the 40-time champions just about managed to get a point from the rain-truncated Ranji Trophy cricket match, here today.
After loss to Jammu and Kashmir, losing in less than two days against Railways would have been one hell of an embarrassment for Mumbai cricket known for its quality and fighting spirit.
Despite batting with an injured finger, Javed Khan was the hero for Mumbai
Mumbai were reeling at 70 for nine after Ranjit Mali's (3/27) inspired three-wicket burst and a disciplined spell from seamer Anureet Singh (4/35). Javed then threw his bat around to score 27 as Mumbai reached the magic figure of 93 to avoid following-on but were all out for 101 in 43 overs.
This was after more than 170 overs of match time was lost during the first two days.
The Gen-Next of Mumbai cricket neither had the technique nor the patience to grind it out on a wicket that helped seam bowling. There were six batsmen, who were leg-before and the team collapsed from 52 for three at one stage to 101 all out. The visitors lost six wickets for only 18 runs in the 11.1 overs.
Hiken Shah (26) and captain Suryakumar (22) added 31 runs for the fourth wicket before Mali, coming in as a change bowler trapped the left-hander plumb in-front. Three overs later, Anureet got one to come back in as it found the Mumbai skipper's pads. Abhishek Nayar (2) scratched around for 31 balls before Mali sent him back.
The others simply didn't have it in them to fight it out till Javed, whose finger nail got clipped while trying to take a catch got them a point.
No wonder coach Praveen Amre was seen explaining a few things in animated manner to the team.
"I just told them where we are exactly at the moment and how everyone needs to take more responsibility. There is no one individual who is responsible but it's a collective thing," Amre told reporters.
Asked if all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, who has little performance to show for in the last couple of seasons is living on borrowed time, Amre said, "He is a senior player and he should be given some more chances."
Railways captain Mahesh Rawat said that 242 on a Karnail Singh track as lively as this was a good score.
"We thought 242 on this track was a good score. We haven't had such good bounce and carry at Karnail for a long time. Credit to Ranjit, who got big wickets (Nayar and Shah) and that proved to be the turning point. He was getting good movement off the pitch," Rawat said.
Railways 1st Innings 242 & 136/4 (Abhishek Kaushik 41, Arindam Ghosh 38)
Mumbai 101 in 43 overs (Anureet Singh 4/35, Ranjit Mali 3/27, Krishnakant Upadhyay 2/37).
Points: Railways 3; Mumbai 1