Ranji Trophy: Mumbai pacers Shardul Thakur, Sandhu dismiss Punjab for paltry total

Considering Punjab hammered over 600 runs in their Ranji Trophy opener against Railways, Yuvraj Singh & Co were expected to inflict more misery on the Aditya Tare-led Mumbai outfit which failed to claim the first innings lead against Andhra last week.

Instead, the hosts steamrolled the visitors to skittle them out for 154 in the first innings on Day One at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday.

Ranji Trophy: Mumbai pacers Shardul Thakur, Balwinder Singh Sandhu dismiss Punjab for paltry totalShardul Thakur of Mumbai celebrates after taking a wicket during the Ranji Trophy match against Punjab at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday. Pic/PTI

Pacers Shardul Thakur and Balwinder Singh Sandhu Jr claimed four wickets each, conceding 47 and 31 runs respectively.

Mumbai, in reply, were 103-2 at stumps thanks to Shreyas Iyer’s quickfire 43-ball unbeaten 61. Iyer slammed 22 runs (4x4s, 1x6) off the first over from Varun Khanna, who was the star of Punjab’s last win where he claimed eight wickets in an innings against Railways.

Centurion of the last match for Punjab, Uday Kaul took 61 balls to score 13 which showed the effective line and length Mumbai bowlers consistently maintained to make Punjab earn every run on a seaming track. Their performances must have delighted Australia pace great and MCA’s bowling foundation guru Jeff Thomson, who watched the proceedings from the President’s Box.
Punjab seems to be one of Sandhu’s favourite teams as the right-arm seamer produced a similar performance when he claimed a fifer on  debut against the same opponents at the same venue in the 2011-12 Ranji season.

“It is just a coincidence. I try hard to perform against all teams,” said Sandhu after a fruitful day.

Sandhu opened the floodgates when he caught Jiwanjot Singh (11) off his own bowling.

Thakur, the highest wicket-taker of the last Ranji season, claimed the wicket of Manan Vohra six overs later.

In the space of 17 overs, the duo claimed four wickets to leave Punjab in tatters.

Sandhu claimed the vital wicket of Yuvraj (13), who had smashed an elegant straight drive off the previous ball. “I had to keep a consistent line. My strength is bowling full and was successful in claiming his wicket. He is a very attacking player,” said Sandhu.

Thakur, relying more on a shorter length, got the prized wicket of last match centurion Mandeep Singh, who mistimed a pull shot only to find Harmeet Singh at deep square leg for 11.

Thakur induced Khanna to nick to wicketkeeper Aditya Tare to give Sandhu his fourth wicket. “I am not at all disappointed. We wanted to bowl Punjab out as early as possible and we are glad we did that,” he said.


Brief scores: Punjab 154 all out (Manan Vohra 34, Gitansh Khera 32; S Thakur 4 for 47, Balwinder Sandhu 4 form 31). Mumbai 103 for 2 (S Iyer not out 61, S Yadav not out 16).

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