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Ranji Trophy: Late strikes from Zaheer Khan set up an interesting chase for Mumbai


File Photo: Zaheer Khan

File Photo: Zaheer Khan

After Harbhajan Singh‘s sensational display with the ball yesterday, today India’s leading medium pace star, Zaheer Khan picked up 4 wickets to give Mumbai the a winning chance in the game against Haryana in Lahli.

The crowds in Lahli flocked in to see Sachin Tendulkar bat but instead witnessed some excellent seam bowling from both sides. First, India’s 2007 T20 World Cup hero, Joginder Sharma picked up a five-for to bundle out Mumbai for 136 and then Zaheer Khan came back late in the day to reduce Haryana to 224 for the loss of nine wickets.

The hosts however, have a handy lead of 222 runs that would be a testing target for Mumbai in the last day.

Resuming overnight at 100 for 4. Mumbai tumbled in front of the seam of Joginder Sharma who tore through the Mumbai lower order to keep the Mumbai lead in check. Ajinkya Rajane, who looked the best of the Mumbai batsmen, could add only seven runs to his overnight tally before being trapped in front of his sticks by Joginder Sharma.

Haryana started off their second innings much more steadily in spite of losing one of their openers. The pair of Sunny Singh (63) and Rahul Dewan (44) added 85 runs for the second wicket before Mumbai’s left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar got into the act. The 26-year-old picked up 4 wickets to unsettle the Haryana middle order and the Zaheer Khan returned with his deadly reverse swing to nip out the rest.

Zaheer Khan, in his second spell, looked sharp and swung the ball both ways to keep the batsman guessing with his duel against the Haryana captain, Ajay Jadeja being the highlight. In a over, Khan left Jadeja clueless with his reverse swing before the ex- Indian captain knicked one to the second slip.

The last day in Lahli is brilliantly set up with Haryana’s last pair at the crease with a lead of 222 runs. It’s already a daunting target on a difficult track but with Mumbai’s batting depth, they would fancy chasing it down. May be one last great innings from the master is in store.

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