Ajinkya Rahane’s Mumbai arrived in Delhi with an aim to lock in the quarter-final berth of the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 season. They needed an outright victory in order to book a place in the knockouts and the task seemed easy against a side that has been limping so far in the season. Up against Rahane & Co, young skipper in Himmat Singh had their back to the walls. However, the hosts did the unexpected, pulling off a terrific 8-wicket win at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Friday.
After taking a 76-run lead in the first innings, Delhi bowled out the visitors for a paltry 170. Despite a fifty from captain Rahane, the Mumbai surrendered to the likes of Divij Mehra (5/30), Pranshu Vijayran (2/40) and Hrithik Shokeen (2/40), setting hosts a target of 95 which was chased down before lunch on the final day.
Following the defeat, Ajinkya Rahane interacted with the media and lauded Delhi’s bowling attack that frustrated the heavyweight Mumbai in both innings.
“Overall, they played great and had a lot of learnings for us. We were in a tough situation in the first innings and got a partnership but we lost wickets that made the difference. We could have scored around 350. But again, they bowled in great areas and kept the pressure throughout on our batting unit,” Rahane said.
Delhi was better in adapting to conditions
Rahane credited Delhi side for adapting the conditions quickly and in a better way that helped them register an outright win.
“We knew it was going to be on the slower side because it’s a dry wicket. We weren’t surprised by it. Sometimes, you need to get used to the conditions in India very quickly. You can’t give excuses. It’s all about how you prepare yourself and challenge yourself. So, Delhi adapted to the conditions better and they got the results,” the Mumbai captain said.
“In Ranji Trophy, you get a session where a team can lose 5-6 wickets. So, as I said, adapting to the conditions very quickly. It can happen with any team but important that how we bounce back. Divij bowled really well in that first session. He remained stuck to his lines and didn’t give us any lose balls. We had to actually craft in, that’s what actually my plan was to stay on the wicket as long as possible rather than thinking about the outcome. It’s all about playing one ball at a time.
Rahane on his 101-ball fifty
After a sudden top-order collapse in the second innings, Rahane anchored the innings for more than a session and notched up his 55th First-class half-century. The Mumbai skipper said his plan was to show respect to the opposition bowler and stay in the middle as long as possible.
“See, whoever is bowling at you, it’s important that you give respect to that individual, and give respect to that team. whether that guy is playing 100th First class game or the 1st. It’s important to give respect to the conditions and play accordingly and Afterall that’s what matters. That’s the plan I kept in my head. I am going to respect them. If there is any loose bowl, I’ll go for it. My plan was just to hang in there and take my team out of this zone and if we get 150 or 170 runs lead on this wicket this could be crucial. But that didn’t happen obviously,” Rahane said in response to a Neww18 Criketnext query.
Words of appreciation for Sarfaraz
Although Mumbai lost the game, Sarfaraz’s knock was one of the major highlights. His 125 in the first innings helped the visitors mount s score of 293. Responding to a News18 Cricketnext query, Rahane lauded the young batter’s efforts and said, “He has been batting well. It’s important that he continues his form, it’s important that he focuses what he is doing and I’m really happy for him.”
Enjoying paying for Mumbai after a long time
“I am really enjoying, I am back with Mumbai, playing full season for a long time, I am really happy the way the team is playing in the Ranji Trophy. Leading Mumbai is an honour and really enjoying this challenge, it’s a very good team, a great bunch of boys. My aim is to do well for Mumbai and keep scoring runs for Mumbai and keep winning matches for Mumbai,” Rahane said.
Game against Maharashtra is crucial
A loss against Delhi means Mumbai need an outright win against Maharashtra to enter the next stage. Rahane said the 8-wicket defeat is a lesson learnt and time to focus on the next game.
“There are areas were we can improve. We’ve been playing very good cricket throughout and obviously; the next game is a crucial one for us. We just need to be confident as a unit and we need to give out best,” Rahane said.
“What has happened has happened. Anyone can beat anyone. Whenever players are drafted in a team, their intent is to win games. So, I thought really well, their intent was good and that’s what matters in cricket,” he concluded.
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