Ranji Trophy Final: Shardul Thakur, Dhawal Kulkarni Star As Mumbai Keep It Tight Against Vidarbha

Ranji Trophy Final: Shardul Thakur, Dhawal Kulkarni Star As Mumbai Keep It Tight Against Vidarbha

The hosts were bowled out for 224 by Vidarbha, who bowled with great inspiration led by Harsh Dubey (3/62), Yash Thakur (3/54) and Umesh Yadav (2/43) to dismantle Mumbai's batting charge except for Thakur.

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Sunday, March 10, 2024, 08:10 PM IST
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Shashank Parade

Shardul Thakur and Dhawal Kulkarni played stellar roles to keep Mumbai's hunt for its 42nd Ranji Trophy title intact on day one of the final against Vidarbha at the Wankhede Stadium.

The hosts were bowled out for 224 by Vidarbha, who bowled with great inspiration led by Harsh Dubey (3/62), Yash Thakur (3/54) and Umesh Yadav (2/43) to dismantle Mumbai's batting charge except for Thakur.

In reply, Vidarbha were wrecked by Dhawal Kulkarni, playing his final Ranji game for Mumbai, and Thakur as they were reeling at 31/3 at stumps on day one.

Mumbai, who were put into bat, came up with a familiar batting performance which has almost become a norm in their case: top order failure, the openers making a difference this time with an 81-run stand by Prithvi Shaw (46) and Bhupen Lalwani (37), followed by a stubborn lower order fightback, which in this case was a lone battle waged by the experienced Thakur who struck an invaluable 75.

The middle-order comprising Musheer Khan, Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer went cheaply to Harsh Dubey and Umesh Yadav as Mumbai found themselves in all sorts of trouble.

It had to take Shardul Thakur to come to the fore and inspire the batsmen at the other end as well to get the hosts' batting back on track and that's precisely what he did.

Thakur's innings saw him surviving a chance on 42 struck off a leading edge that saw Harsh Dubey drop him at mid-off while attempting a diving one-hander.

The Palghar man's knock of 75 off 69 balls at a strike rate of 108.69 saw him slamming eight fours and three sixes in a classic counter-attacking innings that resuscitated Mumbai's flailing batting fortunes.

The hold of Vidarbha's bowlers could be gauged from the fact that when Hardik Tamore was out with the score at 111/5, Mumbai had gone without scoring a single boundary for 100 balls.

The visitors had made a stranglehold over Mumbai until Thakur appeared on the scene and got the scoreboard moving with boundaries.

Scoring at more than run a ball ensured Vidarbha bowlers were not allowed to settle in with Thakur and Dubey having to pluck wickets from the other end.

The curse of Nelson fell upon Mumbai when Rahane and Hardik Tamore lost their wickets and in the former's case it was more of a loose shot being played and caught at mid-off by Dhruv Shorey.

Tushar Deshpande scored a couple of boundaries as Mumbai reached 224 when Thakur was finally out in the 65th over caught at deep mid-wicket by Dubey off Umesh Yadav.

In Vidarbha's response, Thakur snuffed out Dhruv Shorey leg before wicket and thereafter Kulkarni's double blows to get the back of Aman Mokhade and Karun Nair caught behind by Tamore saw Mumbai wrap up day one in a relatively better state.

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