Ankeet Chavan wins it for Mumbai, almost
On a day when all seemed lost for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy encounter against Punjab, left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan almost single-handedly took the game by the scruff of the neck with career-best bowling figures of 9-23
However Mumbai failed to reach the target of 155 runs in 11 overs and had to settle for a point while Punjab, by virtue of a first innings lead, walked away with three points at the Wankhede Stadium.
Rohit Sharma and Abhishek Nayar, Mumbai’s makeshift openers, came out all guns blazing but could only take the score to 62 for two in six overs before the umpires decided to draw curtains on the match.
Punjab now leads the points table with 32 points, while Mumbai is placed at fifth position.
When asked what was going through his mind yesterday, an ecstatic Chavan told MiD DAY, “The wicket was turning a bit but not as much as it was in the first innings. We kept it tight knowing that if we could get 3 or 4 wickets early on, we could get a foothold in the game.
“I carried on from where I had left off in the last game. I just backed myself. Rohit (Sharma) told me to not worry about the result too much and concentrate on my bowling.”
The left-arm spinner, who claimed nine out of the 19 wickets that fell on Day Four, added, “When I came on to bowl, my aim was to get a fiver. But I ended up getting nine wickets. I was just bowling my normal line and length, so the nine-wicket haul feels nice.”
Chavan credited veteran Mumbai spinner Ramesh Powar for helping him hone his bowling skills. “Ramesh always helps me with tips on bowling. Sadly, I could not interact with Harbhajan Singh during the match,” said Chavan who added that Harbhajan’s wicket was the one he treasured the most among the nine wickets.
Chavan, who can also bat a bit and was sent out to bat at two-down in the second innings, said, “I’m just a bowler who bats. My aim is to just stay on the wicket and score and not think too much about it.”
On being asked how he was shaping up for the upcoming season of the IPL, where he plays for the Rajasthan Royals, the 27-year-old said, “I’m working on my consistency and am sticking to the basics.”