Ranji Trophy: Manjrekar's heroics in vain as Mumbai settle for thrilling draw
The lanky pacer had well-set Sheldon Jackson, who was again dismissed off a short ball, for 57
Fifty five runs required, a set batsman with a half century and six wickets in hand. Saurashtra had everything going for them in their 285-run target on the final day of their Ranji Trophy game against Mumbai. But pacer Minad Manjrekar (4-39) turned the match in Mumbai's favour with his twin strikes in the 63rd over.
The lanky pacer had well-set Sheldon Jackson, who was again dismissed off a short ball, for 57. On the penultimate ball of his over, Manjrekar sent back Prerak Mankad (24) with a short ball, putting Saurashtra's chase in jeopardy after Vishvarajsinh Jadeja (71) and Jackson stitched a 113-run stand for the fourth wicket to lay the foundation.
Manjrekar then dismissed Arpit Vasavada (16) and skipper Jaydev Unadkat (1) to brighten Mumbai's chances of earning their maiden outright win of the Ranji Trophy season.
However, Manjrekar's heroics went in vain as Mumbai failed to bowl out Saurashtra, who ended their second innings at 266-7, just 19 runs short of the target at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday.
Mumbai, who had to be content with three points for claiming the first innings lead, are now virtually out of the qualification race for the knockout stage after languishing at 14th position with 11 points in combined Elite Group 'A' and 'B' standings. Only Top Five teams will progress from these two groups to the quarter-finals. Mumbai next play defending champions Vidarbha in Nagpur before squaring up against Chattisgarh in their last league encounter.
Mumbai skipper Siddhesh Lad said his team will fight till the end. "We will try to do what is in our hands. Even in this match, we put in all our efforts and nowhere did we feel that we were not putting in 100 per cent," Lad said after an exciting contest.
Lad lauded rookie Manjrekar's efforts for keeping Mumbai's chances alive till the end. "If they continued to have wickets in hand, the game would have gone their way. I had a discussion with senior players, (Shreyas) Iyer and (Aditya) Tare as to how we could get their wickets. We had got Sheldon in the first innings with the short-ball plan. We decided to go with the same plan this time as well. Minad is nippy and bowls with some pace," he said.
Earlier, Mumbai batted for 68 minutes and added 63 runs in 16 overs to their overnight score before declaring on 238 for eight. Mumbai needed to bowl out Saurashtra in 72 overs, but the two captains decided to call off the match two balls before the final over.
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