Ranji Trophy final: Mumbai take upper hand on first day

Pune, Feb 24 (IANS) A fine display of pace bowling by Dhawal Kulkarni and Shardul Thakur gave Mumbai the upper hand on the first day of the Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Wednesday.

Kulkarni had figures of 4/30 while Thakur returned 2/59 as Saurashtra posted 192/8 in their first innings at the end of the day’s play. Balwinder Sandhu (1/41) and Abhishek Nayar (1/42) also bagged a wicket each.

Arpit Vasavada was the most successful among the Saurashtra batsmen with a fighting 77. Vasavada hit six boundaries during his 214-ball innings.

Tailender Prerak Mankad, who was batting on 55 at stumps, was the only other batsman who managed to take the battle to the Mumbai bowlers.

Asked to bat first, Saurashtra never really managed to come to grips with the green wicket and lost wickets at regular intervals.

They suffered their first blow when Avi Barot flicked a fullish delivery from Kulkarni straight to Shreyas Iyer at square leg.

Sagar Jogiyani, Cheteshwar Pujara and Sheldon Jackson were all unable to reach double figures, leaving Saurashtra in trouble at 42/4.

Vasavada, who had managed only 192 runs in 11 innings this season, found his form at a crucial time for his team. The left-hander started his innings at a fast clip before going into defensive mode as wickets fell at the other end.

Mankad’s arrival in the middle finally stemmed the Saurashtra collapse as he built a 84-run partnership with Vasavada. The duo helped Saurashtra regain some lost ground.

But Kulkarni sent back Vasavada with the second new ball in the last delivery of the day to swing things back Mumbai’s way.

Brief scores:

Saurashtra: 192/8 (Arpit Vasavada 77, Prerak Mankad 55 batting; Dhawal Kulkarni 4/30 Shardul Thakur 2/59) vs Mumbai.

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