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Ajinkya Rahane: No one bigger than team

Updated on: 28 January,2023 09:13 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Subodh Mayure |

Skipper Ajinkya Rahane sends out strong message after Mumbai fail to make Ranji Trophy knockouts; opponents Maharashtra don’t qualify as well

Ajinkya Rahane: No one bigger than team

Mumbai’s Ajinkya Rahane skips down the track on Day Four of their Ranji Trophy encounter against Maharashtra at Brabourne. Pic/PTI

Mumbai’s long wait to hold the prestigious Ranji Trophy will be longer as they drew their must-win Elite Group ‘B’ game with arch-rivals Maharashtra at the Brabourne Stadium on Friday. The four-day encounter ended with Mumbai totalling 24 points while Maharashtra ended their league stage with 26.

Saurashtra and Andhra Pradesh (26 points each) qualified from Group ‘B’ for the quarter-finals on the basis of better bonus points. Mumbai were full of attacking intent to get near the target of 253 in 28 overs, but had to adopt a defensive approach in the last six overs to settle for a draw. 

As both sides ended with first innings scores of 384, it was like a one-day game in the second innings at the Cricket Club of India. The Ajinkya Rahane-led team managed to bowl out Maharashtra (overnight 51-2) for 252 and Mumbai had to get their target in 28 overs.

Skipper promotes himself

Rahane (30-ball 35, 3x4, 1x6) promoted himself to open the innings with Yashasvi Jaiswal (14). The visitors opened the bowling with left-arm spinners, Satyajeet Bachhav (2-84) and Vicky Ostwal (1-50). The hosts were 22-0 in the first two overs, in which Jaiswal hit a big six over long-on off Ostwal. However, in his second over, Ostwal bowled Jaiswal after the left-hander stepped out for a big hit. Rahane showed good intent while smashing Bachhav for a straight six and a four in the fifth over. However, pacer Pradeep Dadhe dismissed him via Bachhav at point.

At the final drinks break, Mumbai had 108-3 on the board, still needing 145 to win. Debutant Divyaansh Saxena was batting with Armaan Jaffer and their partnership looked promising, but that was not enough to chase a tough target. Surprisingly, Prasad Pawar, who scored 145 in the first innings and deservedly got the Player of the Match award, did not get a chance to bat in the deciding innings as the hosts shuffled their batting order. Maharashtra’s part-time off-spinner Siddhesh Veer claimed 2-26. 

‘Fitness, a concern’

Asked by mid-day about the areas of concern for Mumbai, captain Rahane remarked: “There are lots of areas that we need to focus on. Fitness is key for these guys, they can work on their fitness. They can think about playing as a team. It’s natural as a human being to think about yourself, doing well for yourself. But the larger picture is, you want to do well for your team, for Mumbai. No one is bigger than any team; no one bigger than Mumbai. So, it’s a great learning for all these guys. Playing as a team is really very important.”

Also Read: Ajinkya Rahane: It was a very good game

The Mumbai captain was expressive while highlighting his disappointment. “I am extremely disappointed that we could not qualify for the knockouts. This bunch definitely takes red-ball cricket seriously and my message to everyone is you should enjoy four-day cricket. Everyone wants instant success but patience, focus and determination are critical for this format,” said Rahane. Earlier, left-arm spinner Shams Mulani claimed 4-81, while pacer Tushar Deshpande and Mohit Avasthi got two wickets apiece to dismiss Maharashtra. Mumbai last won the Ranji Trophy in 2015-16.

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