Mumbai’s coach Vinayank Samant had compared their Vijay Hazare trophy final clash against Delhi to an India-Pakistan encounter. The match at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Saturday (October 20) lived up to the hype.
Mumbai sealed the title, prevailing in a low-scoring game filled with plenty of drama and action. Opting to field first, they bowled Delhi out for just 177 in 45.4 overs. Mumbai survived a scare to seal a four-wicket win in 35 overs, powered by a 105-run stand between Aditya Tare (71) and Siddhesh Lad (48).
Mumbai have a strong batting unit but if they had thought at the interval that the chase would be easy, they were mistaken. Navdeep Saini ran through the top order in a spell of pace, seam movement and accuracy, accounting for the wickets of Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane and Suryakumar Yadav. Kulwant Khejroliya chipped in with Shreyas Iyer’s wicket, leaving Mumbai 40 for 4.
The chase started with Shaw smashing Saini for two boundaries but fell on the third delivery, bowled due to lack of footwork. Rahane was then done-in by an in-cutter and was given lbw, although the height could have been a factor. Soon, Suryakumar fell slashing to second slip, leaving Mumbai 25 for 3.
It should have become 25 for 4, but Iyer was dropped on 3 by Nitish Rana in the slips in the next over by Khejroliya. The drama continued when Lad drove Saini straight to point, but he was reprieved as the third umpire spotted a no-ball. Saini was guilty of pushing the line in the previous dismissal.
Khejroliya, though, had his man at the other end when Iyer played loose and edged to the keeper for a 20-ball 7. The pacers were accurate but Mumbai’s batsmen were rash, throwing their bat around without any conviction. Plenty of edges fell short or wide of the fielders.
Gambhir knew the only way Delhi could fight was through wickets, and he attacked to full capacity. The pacers operated with two slips and two gullies, but it also provided a chance for quick runs.
Tare and Lad did just that, finding the boundaries to relieve some pressure. One such six over the on-side took the partnership past 50.
Mumbai were cruising before a couple of interesting incidents got some life back into the game. Tare was first given caught behind off Suboth Bhati, but replays showed the ball had touched the ground although the soft signal was out. Soon, Bhati thought he had Tare run out when he deflected a straight drive from Lad, but inconclusive replays meant the benefit of doubt went to the batsman.
Tare eventually crossed his half-century, and Lad fell two short. By the time they fell, it was too little too late for Delhi.
Just like Mumbai did later in the afternoon, Delhi too paid the price for some absurd shot selection.
The tone was set right at the top by Gambhir. The Delhi captain was in form with more than 500 runs in the tournament, but fell in the second over slashing Tushar Deshpande to third man. Unmukt Chand then cut Dhawal Kulkarni to point, while Manan Sharma, who was sent up the order, fell caught behind while driving Deshpande on the up.
From 21 for 3, Nitish Rana and Dhruv Shorey resisted with a 39-run stand, but the pressure of the scoreboard got to Rana. He tried to hook medium pacer Shivam Dubey but only managed to find deep square-leg, the only man in that area. Shorey fell soon after, stumped off Shams Mulani for 31 (66).
In the presence of a steady Himmat Singh, Pawan Negi counter-attacked, particularly targeting Mulani’s left-arm spin. But his innings was cut short when he was hit on the finger by a rising delivery from Deshpande, and he had to walk back for 21 off 19. Negi had to be taken to the hospital for scans and couldn’t bowl.
The rash shots didn’t stop even after Negi fell. Himmat fell in the very next over trying to slog Dubey out of the park, but only managed an edge to the keeper. That Delhi got past 175 was because of a cameo by Bhati (25 off 22).