Ranji Trophy final: Rahane, Musheer put Mumbai in command against Vidarbha | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Captain Ajinkya Rahane defied the trend of low scores by playing an essential unbeaten innings of 58 as Mumbai established a commanding 260-run lead against Vidarbha at the close of day two in the Ranji Trophy final in Mumbai on Monday.
While young Musheer Khan tempered his aggression to compile a resilient 51 not out, Rahane exhibited patience and precision against the Vidarbha bowling attack, positioning Mumbai, in pursuit of a record 42nd Ranji title, in a dominant position.
After being dismissed for a modest 224 in the first innings on the opening day, Mumbai staged a strong comeback in the initial session, securing a 119-run lead. Vidarbha, starting at 31/3, was bowled out for 105 in their first innings.
Rahane and Musheer joined forces after Mumbai lost openers Prithvi Shaw (11) and Bhupen Lalwani (18) early in their second innings. The game hung delicately in the balance shortly after lunch.
Shaw’s stumps were shattered when Yash Thakur produced a delivery that angled back, finding its way between the bat and pads of the Indian player. Lalwani, on the other hand, was caught at midwicket off the bowling of Harsh Dubey (1/46).
Old warhorse Rahane and Musheer were clinical as they frustrated the opposition for more than three hours to ensure the game tilted heavily in their favour when stumps were drawn.
Rahane, who has averaged just 12 runs this season, began cautiously but grew in confidence to bring up only his second fifty of the tournament, reaching 58 not out off 109 balls with the help of four boundaries and a six.
At the other end, Musheer kept committing himself on the front foot, meeting most of the deliveries with a dead bat to consume 134 balls for his unbeaten 51 with three fours.
The two right-handers took their time to build the unbeaten third-wicket stand of 107 runs from 232 balls.
A bit of luck favoured Rahane late in the day when Harsh Dubey pinned the batter in front of the wickets to get an on-field call for a leg-before. But Rahane quickly took the DRS, which showed the ball had kissed the inside edge of the bat before hitting the pads.
Musheer followed the team’s instruction to a tee by dropping anchor, tiring out the opposition bowlers.
Mumbai’s cause was also aided by the fact that Vidarbha’s ace spinner Aditya Sarwate was under-bowled owing to an injury.
Earlier, Vidarbha showed no conviction or game plan as they were skittled out for just 105 in their first essay.
Having lost three wickets overnight, including two key batters in Dhruv Shorey and Karun Nair, Vidarbha began cautiously but failed to stem the slide despite the pitch conducive for batting.
The lack of initiative was evident with Vidarbha neither succeeding in striking enough boundaries not being able to rotate the strike.
Nightwatchman Aditya Thakare (19 off 69 deliveries) though performed his role admirably, holding one end up while Yash Rathod (27 off 67 balls) looked appealing.
Dhawal Kulkarni added one more wicket to his tally to return figures of 3/15, while Mumbai spinners Shams Mulani (3/32) and Tanush Kotian (4.3-1-7-3) ruled the roost in the first session.
Kulkarni bagged the first scalp of the day when he had opener Atharva Taide caught behind for a 60-ball 23.
Mulani persistently troubled a resolute Thakare until he pinned the batter down leg-before, ending his 69-ball vigil.
Left-arm spinner Mulani ensured a short stay for Dubey (1), getting him caught bat-pad, which was confirmed by the review.
Tanush Kotian had Yash Rathod chopping one onto his wickets. The spinner did not waste time in getting Yash Thakur (16) and Umesh Yadav (2) caught by Tushar Deshpande to wrap up the tail.
Brief scores: Mumbai 224 & 141/2 in 50 overs (Musheer Khan 51 batting, Ajinkya Rahane 58 batting; Yash Thakur 1/25) lead Vidarbha 105 in 45.3 overs (Yash Rathod 27; Dhawal Kulkarni 3/15, Shams Mulani 3/32, Tanush Kotian 3/7) by 260 runs.
(With inputs from PTI)

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