Ranji Trophy: Siddhesh Lad scored vital 71 as Mumbai edge out a draw against Baroda
Middle-order batman Siddhesh, whose 238-ball 71* saw Mumbai eke out a draw against Baroda yesterday, says his aim was to ensure 41-time champs didn't lose their landmark 500th Ranji tie
Mumbai's middle-order batsman Siddhesh Lad had just one lakshya or target when he went out to bat in the second innings against Baroda in the Ranji Trophy Group 'C' tie at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday — not to let the 41-time Ranji champs down in their landmark 500th tie. And that's exactly what he achieved with a gritty 238-ball 71 not out, sweating it out in the middle for five hours. Incidentally, Lad's mobile phone caller tune plays the lines 'tujhe ab ye dikhana hai, lakshya ko paana hai (you have to achieve your target at all costs) from the 2004 Hrithik Roshan-starrer, Lakshya.
Mumbai's Siddhesh Lad pierces the packed close-in field on Day 4 of the Ranji Trophy match against Baroda yesterday Pics/Suresh Karkera
Lad, who replaced Ajinkya Rahane (45) around an hour before lunch, went on stitch three match-saving partnerships, with Suryakumar Yadav (44), Abhishek Nayar (8) and Dhawal Kulkarni (2) as Mumbai, who resumed the final day on 102 for four and trailed by 302 runs, ended the match on 260 for seven. The 25-year-old Borivli resident anchored things perfectly. He scored his first nine runs off 57 balls and shared 79 runs for the sixth wicket with Yadav at lunch. Lad reached his half-century with two consecutive cover drive boundaries off left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh. Then, a stroke of luck, saw him survive on 57, when he was caught at short mid-wicket by Sagar Mangalorkar off Swapnil before the third umpire declared it a no-ball. Mumbai were 236 for six off 90.1 overs at this stage. Lad consumed another 30 balls to move to 67 and then hit a square drive boundary off Swapnil.
Mumbai skipper Aditya Tare (left) with Lad
"I told myself that by hook or crook I have to save this match because this is Mumbai's 500th game and everyone is expecting big from us. So, I focused on each and every ball and managed to achieve my target," Lad, who made his first-class debut five years ago and has accumulated 2497 runs at an average of 42.32 in 36 matches, told mid-day later. Nayar and Kulkarni also played key roles. Nayar, batted for two and half hours, facing 108 balls for his eight. Lad and Nayar's 50-run stand for the seventh wicket broke the visitors' back. After Nayar's departure Kulkarni then gave Lad company for almost an hour, as they negotiated nine close-in fielders around the bat.
Not a happy result, Baroda skipper
Baroda skipper Deepak Hooda was not too pleased after he failed to bowl out Mumbai in the second innings and register an outright win yesterday despite trying every trick in the book. He used nine bowlers but couldn't get the desired result. "I won't say it's a happy result but our young team played well. It was a flat pitch with no movement for the bowlers," said Hooda.