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    Ranji Trophy, Group A: How Mumbai made the QFs

    Mumbai huffed and puffed throughout their journey, but still managed to enter the quarter-finals of the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season from Group A. They played out draws in seven of their eight matches but still finished third, just above Gujarat, with 23 points. Abhishek Nayar shone with both bat and ball for Mumbai; he has scored 730 runs in eight matches at 121.66 while also remaining the most successful bowler after left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan (28 wickets) with 16 wickets. Mumbai will face Baroda at home from January 6.

    Here, Cricketnext charts their course to the knockouts:

    1st match (at home, Nov 2-5): Mumbai 570 (Sachin Tendulkar 137, Ajinkya Rahane 129, Abhishek Nayar 107*) & 230 for 5 (Kaustubh Pawar 85) drew withRailways 426
    Sachin Tendulkar , who played the game to practice for the England series, scored a century along with Ajinkya Rahane and Abhishek Nayar as Mumbai posted a huge 570 in their first innings. But Railways too made a strong reply, posting 426, with their middle and lower order contributing heavily. The hosts had lost five wickets for 230 in their second innings as match ended in a draw, with Mumbai taking three points and Railways one.

    2nd match (away, Nov 9-12): Mumbai 579 (Hiken Shah 140, Abhishek Nayar 105*) drew with Rajasthan 478
    The pitch at the KL Saina Stadium in Jaipur turned out to be an absolute belter as both teams piled on runs and only one innings by each team could be completed. Vineet Saxena (114) and skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (119) scored hundred for the hosts to take them to 478, while Hiken Shah and Nayar smashed tons for Mumbai to help them post a massive 579 in their first innings. Mumbai got three points for taking the first-innings lead.

    3rd match (away, Nov 24-27): Mumbai 443 (Shah 156, Rohit Sharma 112) drew with Hyderabad 699
    Mumbai were greeted with another batting paradise at Uppal. They won the toss and batted, with Shah scoring a second consecutive hundred while Rohit Sharma made 112. But their score of 443 proved too small for Hyderabad, who made 699 in their first innings, with three of their top four batsmen scoring centuries. Both Akshath Reddy and Hunuma Vihari missed their double tons by just four and nine runs respectively, while Bavanaka Sandeep making 117. The match ended in a draw as Mumbai got just one point.

    4th match (home, Dec 1-4): Mumbai 297 (Wasim Jaffer 80) & 294 for 5 (Shah 118) drew with Bengal 201 (Chavan 4/61) & 198 for 7
    Having been asked to bat, Mumbai made 297 in their first innings with seasoned opener Wasim Jaffer contributing 80. Bengal, despite a brilliant 98 by opener Arindam Das, could only make 201, conceding the first-innings lead. Shah scored his third century on the trot as Mumbai declared their second innings at 294, giving Bengal a target of 391 to chase in over a day's play. The visitors slumped to 190 for 7 but the home side couldn't take the remaining three wickets as the match ended in a draw - fourth in a row for them.

    5th match (home, Dec 8-11): Mumbai 485 (Rohit 203) & 61 for 2 drew with Punjab 580 & 59 (Chavan 9/23)
    Mandeep Singh scored a magnificent double century (211) as Punjab posted 580 in their first innings. In reply, Rohit made 203 as Mumbai got 485. But Punjab were rolled over for just 59 in the second innings, with Chavan picking up nine wickets. And in spite going full throttle to chase 154, Mumbai could manage 61 as another match ended in a draw.

    6th match (away, Dec 15-18): Mumbai 606 for 5 dec (Aditya Tare 222, Rohit 166) & 169 for 5 (Jaffer 71, Rohit 71) drew with Saurashtra 300 (Dhawal Kulkarni 4/58)
    Aditya Tare smashed a double ton while Rohit conjured another big century as Mumbai declared their first innings at 606 for 5. Aarpit Vasavada also scored a ton (111) for the hosts but their first innings ended on 300. The Rajkot pitch did not offer much to the bowlers of either side as the match finished in a draw, with Mumbai taking three points.

    7th match (away, Dec 22-25): Mumbai 304 (Pawar 111) & 250 for 5 (Jaffer 67) beat Madhya Pradesh 244 & 303 (Zaheer Khan 5/79) by seven runs
    Mumbai finally tasted a victory, but that too after a nail-biting finish. After posting 304 in their first innings, Mumbai bowled out hosts Madhya Pradesh for 244, thus taking a valuable 60-run lead. The visitors declared their second innings at 250 for 5 and set MP a target of 311 to win, which was almost overhauled, thanks to a fighting 128 by Jalaj Saxena. But Zaheer Khan brought his experience and took a five-for to hand his side a much-needed victory.

    8th match (home, Dec 29-Jan 1): Mumbai 447 (Jaffer 177) & 65 for 1 drew with Gujarat 244 & 337 (Chavan 4/124)
    Needing maximum points from this match, Mumbai elected to field and did reasonably well to restrict Gujarat to 244. Jaffer scored his 45th first-class century as the home team posted 447, a lead of 203. But Gujarat too played well in their second innings, making 337, and dashed Mumbai's hopes to post consecutive victories. But the three points earned here helped them make to the quarter-finals.