Ranji Trophy Semi-Final, Day 4: Mumbai inch closer to final after setting MP a mammoth total
After Saurashtra qualified for the final after just three days into the semi-final against Assam, in the second semi-final, Mumbai inched ever closer to the yet another Ranji Trophy final as they set Madhya Pradesh a huge target of 571 runs.
Mumbai started the fourth day with two of their batsmen – Suryakumar Yadav and Aditya Tare – in their nineties. Both batsmen went on to score their hundreds, Yadav getting out on 115 and Tare on 109. The two middle-order batsmen were involved in a 217-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Although Mumbai lost a few quick wickets and were in a bit of trouble at 343/7, Abhishek Nayar, who performed well with the ball in the first innings, scored an unbeaten knock of 73 to help his side score 426 runs in the second innings and extend their lead to 570 runs.
Ishwar Pandey and Harpreet Singh picked up three wickets each for MP while Jalaj Saxena's single wicket took his season tally to 49 wickets.
Saxena, who has been instrumental even with the bat for MP, looked positive when he came into bat with fellow opener, Aditya Shrivastava as the duo put on a 59-run stand for the first wicket. Saxena was the first to go as he was run-out by Akhil Herwadkar.
Rajat Patidar did not trouble the scorers much as he was dismissed cheaply after making just four runs, edging a ball from Shardul Thakur to the Mumbai captain, Tare.
Naman Ojha, who played a useful knock of 79 in the first innings, gave some good support to Shrivastava and ensured that no more wickets were lost at the end of the day. The 22-year-old Shrivastava reached his fourth first-class half-century and helped his side finish day four on 99/2.
MP now need 472 runs to score in 90 overs on Day Five in order to qualify for the Ranji Trophy final. This is a daunting task as it demands the batsmen score at more than five runs an over, and make sure that they don't lose wickets quickly.
Mumbai will be looking to bowl out MP soon and reach their 45th Ranji Trophy final and stake their claim to yet another Ranji crown to their name, already having 40 titles to their name. Either way, it should be an interesting day of cricket, with Mumbai definitely having the upper hand in the game.
Brief Scores: Madhya Pradesh 227 & 99/2, 32 overs (Shrivastava 53*; Thakur 1/24) trail Mumbai 371 & 426/10, 125.1 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 115, Tare 109, Nayar 73*; Harpreet Singh 3/55, Ishwar Pandey 3/103) by 471 runs.