All-rounder Shams Mulani (87) and captain Aditya Tare (69 batting) dug deep as Mumbai posted a healthy total of 284 for six despite a middle-order arrest against Tamil Nadu on the first day of the Ranji Trophy contest at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Saturday.
At stumps, Mumbai was 284 for six in 89.4 overs with wicketkeeper-batsman Tare unbeaten on 69. R Ashwin and left-arm orthodox bowler R Sai Kishore (3/77) were the only contributors with the ball for the host, scalping three each. On the eve of the clash, the Mumbai skipper wanted his young side to play a positive brand of cricket.
In keeping with Tare’s words, opener Jay Bista (41) took the attack to the opposition from the word go as the touring team won the toss and elected to bat first on a slow Chepauk strip. The flamboyant Bista struck a fluent 41 off 48 balls before falling prey to Sai Kishore, who was the wrecker-in-chief in the first session with three wickets.
The 24-year-old’s innings was laced with eight boundaries, three of which came in K Vignesh’s eighth over. When the right-handed Bista was cleaned up in the last ball of the 13th over, the scoreboard read 50 for one. Following his dismissal, the run flow dropped down drastically, thanks to some tight bowling by the Tamil Nadu spinners. Bista’s partner Bhupen Lalwani (21) and Hardik Tamore (21), in at No.3, scored at a snail’s pace, adding 29 runs from 104 deliveries for the second wicket. After being frustrated for a little more than 17 overs, Tamil Nadu got the breakthrough via Sai Kishore, who reaped the rewards for some consistent bowling.
Lalwani was trapped plumb in front for 21 in the 31st over with 79 runs on the board. In his following over, Sai Kishore made sure Siddhesh Lad (0) went back to the pavilion without disturbing the scoresheet. Lad nicked the ball to first slip, where stand-in captain Baba Aparajith took a single-handed stunner.
Tamil Nadu had a chance to get a foothold on the contest, but L Suryapprakash, positioned at forward short leg, missed a catch offered by Sarfaraz Khan (36) just on the stroke of lunch. At the conclusion of the opening period, Mumbai was 91 for the loss of three wickets.
Immediately after the 40-minute breather, Ashwin, who was denied early inroads, finally bagged his first wicket. Tamore tried to play a cut shot but picked out the returning Baba Indrajith. The ace later got the better of his former Kings XI Punjab teammate Sarfaraz, whose 36-run knock was entertaining.
Then came the most crucial stand of the day involving Mulani and Tare, who ground out the runs, wisely making full use of the freebies bowled. The left-right duo, which came together in the 49th over, picked up runs at a steady speed by sending the ball to the ropes at regular intervals.
While Mulani smashed 14 boundaries and a maximum during his 158-ball knock, Tare, still at the crease, has so far struck nine fours. The former edged a flighted delivery from R Ashwin to Aparajith in the last over, falling 13 runs short of a well-deserved ton.
Brief scores: Mumbai 284 for 6 in 89.4 overs (S Mulani 87, A Tare 69*, R Ashwin 3/58, R Sai Kishore 3/77) vs Tamil Nadu.
Vijay Shankar misses game
Tamil Nadu’s regular captain Vijay Shankar was surprisingly not named in the home team’s playing eleven for the Ranji Trophy encounter against Mumbai. The all-rounder was called up by India ‘A’ late on Friday for the tour of New Zealand. Hence, Baba Aparajith was handed the baton of leading Tamil Nadu.