It was not the icy breeze flowing across the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak yesterday morning that sent a chill down the spines of Mumbai batsmen. Instead, it was the Haryana seam bowlers who caused a flutter in the visitors' camp, reducing them to 55 for four by just the 21st over of the first day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final.
Ajinkya Rahane bailed Mumbai out yesterday.
Had it not been for the 174-run alliance between Ajinkya Rahane (116*) and Ajit Agarkar (78), Mumbai could have been in tatters.
"I would rate this century right up at there (at the top)," Rahane told MiD DAY from Rohtak last night. "This is easily one of my best innings."
Mumbai started the day disastrously after opting to bat on winning the toss. Openers Sahil Kukreja (5) and Sushant Marathe (6) were back in the pavilion with the score less than 20. Further trouble awaited Mumbai as their in-form skipper Wasim Jaffer (19) and Rohit Sharma (0) were also back with the score just 55.
Without the fifth-wicket partnership between Rahane and Agarkar, the story for Mumbai, who ended the day on a respectable 238 for 5, could well have been nothing short of a catastrophe.
"The moment I arrived on the wicket, I knew playing shots would not be easy. And with four of our established batsmen out, I knew I had to stick on and bail the team out. Ajit kept talking to me and kept telling me to stay put. So yes, it was a satisfying knock," Rahane said, adding: "We don't have any targets as such. We are looking at negotiating things session by session."