Ranji Trophy: Naman Ojha's magnum opus goes in vain as Mumbai reaches final
Mumbai qualified for the Ranji Trophy final for the first time in three seasons. Now they will take on Saurashtra. But, Mumbai’s win was not an easy one as centuries from Naman Ojha (113) and Harpreet Singh (105) produced resistance in Mumbai’s way to final. Madhya Pradesh who were given a mountainous target off 571 runs in four sessions ended on 361 for 5 when both set to of players shook hands to down the curtain of a high-scoring clash at the DRIEMS ground in Cuttack.
MP started the day at 99 for 2, with Mumbai having an opportunity to bag full points. They had a wicket in the first hour when Aditya Shrivastava (68) was caught behind off Dare Alam, the pacer who open the floodgate. But a hard fought innings by Ojha, who scored most run in this season without a century, foil Mumbai attack and scripted his 15th first-class ton during the course of a 159 run stand for the fourth wicket with Harpreet.
Ojha, who struck 13 fours and a six during his 185 ball knock, fell to the part-time off-spin of Suryakumar Yadav to once again lift Mumbai’s hopes of running through the lower middle order. But Harpreet frustrated the bowler and brought up his second century of the season shortly after the tea interval. He finished the season as the leading run-getter for the side with 750 runs in 15 innings.
With interest surrounding MP’s second innings dying down soon after Harpreet’s century, the match got over at the start of the mandatory overs, as Mumbai sealed their final berth on the back of two dominating displays with the bat. While Shreyas hit 90 and 58 in his two outings, Aditya Tare, the captain, who missed the quarterfinal with a thumb injury, and Suryakumar hit centuries in the second innings to build on a 144 run lead that was taken on the back of Balwinder Sadhu’s five wicket haul.
Mumbai will now play Saurashtra at the MCA Stadium in Pune starting on February 24. Earlier in 2012-13 season season Mumbai and Saurashtra played the final.
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