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Ranji Trophy: Lucky Mumbai sneak into quarterfinals

Needing outright win at the start of their last league tie to enter the quarters, 40-time champions sneak through miraculously with just a first innings lead against Karnataka at the Wankhede. Mumbai make the cut after Baroda, MP and Railways slip in their respective clashes

Mumbai sneaked into the quarter-finals of this season’s Ranji Trophy by defeating Karnataka in their final league match of Group ‘A’ by virtue of the first innings lead at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.

The 40-time champions needed an outright win to secure their place in the knock-outs, but were helped by the results of other Group A encounters with Baroda losing to Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh failing to secure an outright win against Bengal. 

Going into the final day of the four-day game after taking a small but vital 21-run lead over the visitors, Mumbai had one eye on three other games in the same group before advancing as the third best team with a tally of 20 points. 

Harmeet Singh congratulated by his teammatesThe Mumbai team managed to enter the quarter-finals thanks largely to the results of the other group matches. Pic/Atul Kamble

Karnataka, already assured of a berth in the last eight before the start of the game, finished on top of the Group with 33 points, including the one point earned in this match, while Tamil Nadu finished second with 29 points after defeating Baroda by seven wickets in the latter's backyard.

The result of two other games held concurrently in the group -- Madhya Pradesh against Bengal at Indore and Railways against Uttar Pradesh at Delhi -- also helped Mumbai's entry into the last eight.

The quarterfinals have been scheduled at Lahli, Jaipur, Indore and Cuttack from February 15-19.

Today, Mumbai wanted to make some quick runs and set a target for Karnataka but lost wickets at regular intervals against the double spin attack of off spinner Udit Patel and leg spinner Shreyas Gopal before declaring their second innings at 223 for eight.

Mumbai did not have an ideal start to Day Four as their batting failed to get going. The hosts lost half their side for 105 runs in the first session of play.

Coming in at number four, Suryakumar Yadav and first innings centurion Nikhil Patil Jr joined hands and put on a crucial 68-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Patil was lbw to Udit Patel for a run-a-ball 48 with seven boundaries. Mumbai eventually declared at 223 for eight to set a target of 245 runs in 39 overs. Yadav was the highest scorer for the hosts in the second innings with 77 off 98 balls with seven fours and two sixes.

It left Mumbai with 39 overs to take all 10 second innings wickets of Karnataka, who needed 245 to win the game outright.

The game ended with the visitors on 110 for one with Robin Uthappa (44) and Kunal Kapoor (50) at the crease.

Mumbai coach Pravin Amre was pleased with the efforts of the team. “I am really very happy with the performance of the team. They have shown a lot of character to bounce back after the loss to Tamil Nadu in which we created a history in another way (a rare innings defeat).”

Mumbai did not have a great start to this season as they lost to Jammu and Kashmir at home and were down until the last match against Baroda. The urge to play for each other helped them.

"We travelled to Baroda by bus and we straightaway went to the ground where we had a meeting. We discussed how important the next four days were going to be for Mumbai cricket and individual cricketers. Everyone in the team wanted to play for each other and that is the way they played," Amre said.

Brief scores:
Mumbai: 436 & 223 for eight decl. (Suryakumar Yadav 77 not out, Nikhil Patil Jr 48; Udit Patel 4/55, Abhimanyu Mithun 2/37).
Karnataka: 415 & 110 for one (Robin Uthappa 44 not out, Kunal Kapoor 50 not out).
Points: Mumbai 3; Karnataka 1

(With agency inputs)

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