Mumbai have lost many Ranji Trophy games over the years, but not very often have they been dominated in every single session on the first three days of a four-day encounter. Nevertheless, that was the story that had unfolded at the Wankhede going into the final day’s play against Baroda. The hosts were staring at an outright defeat, trailing by a huge margin of 302 runs, with only six wickets in hand. What’s more, one of their batsmen was unlikely to come out and bat as he had missed most parts of the game due to injury.
They desperately needed all their remaining batsmen to contribute, and as has been the case so often in the recent past, their man to meet crisis in the eye, Siddhesh Lad, was game for the challenge. He stuck around for 238 balls and remained unbeaten on 71 as the hosts managed to salvage a point from the contest. Most recently, Lad had contributed to his team’s win against Odisha in the previous game, scoring 117 in the second innings.
These are the kind of knocks that have earned the 25-year-old the sobriquet of ‘Mumbai’s crisis man’. “I am trying harder to bat in good situations (too) but it was very important today to save the game. From yesterday, the only thing that was there in my mind was to save the game and it came off well,” said a satisfied Lad after the match on Sunday.
“Since last night, the only thought that I had was to not get out at any cost. Personally, I was very hurt that we found ourselves in such a tough situation in our 500th game. I had to save this game for Mumbai at any cost. I was very motivated to do that,” he added.
With the overs running out, Baroda, who were trying for an outright win, had nine fielders close to the bat of tailender Dhawal Kulkarni in the Ranji Trophy match at Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. Mumbai, who have won the title 41 times, survived the day to escape with a draw.
Lad made his debut four years ago and has played 36 First Class games so far, hitting five centuries and 15 half centuries, and he considered Sunday’s knock as one of his best. He also said he has learnt a lot from the seniors in the team. “I have confidence after talking with senior players like Abhishek Nayar and Aditya Tare, even Dhawal Kulkarni, as to what they have done in such situations. I have learnt from them on how to tackle such situations,” he said.
Lad, who has endured lower back problems through the course of his career, was experiencing a stiff neck in the afternoon and the physio had to be called in on a few occasions to treat him.
RANJI SCORES ROUND 5, DAY 4
GROUP A: In Guwahati: Uttar Pradesh 349 & 357/6 decl in 86.4 ovs (U Sharma 148, Md Saif 77). Assam 318 & 148/4 in 55 ovs (SA Roy 62, G Sharma 62; Saurabh Kumar 3/52). Match drawn (UP 3 pts Assam 1) In Pune (Gahunje): Maharashtra 481 &186/6 decl in 37 ovs (N Shaikh 40; K Thakur 3/430. Railways 381in 131.2 ovs ( AGhosh 45) & 54/1in 18 ovs. Match drawn. (Maharashtra 3 pts, Rlys 1) In Alur: Karnataka 649 & 235/3 in 63 ovs (KL Rahul 92, R Samarth 47). Delhi 301in 95 ovs (G Gambhir 145; A Mithun 5/50). Match drawn (Karnataka 3 pts, Delhi 1) Points tally: Karnataka (23 pts, 4 matches); Delhi (17/4); Railways (14/5); Maharashta (10/4), Hyderabad (9/4), UP (4/5), Assam (2/4)
In Jamshedpur: J&K 376 & 265/9 decl in 63.5 ovs. Jharkhand 292/9 decl 7 & 243 in 49.4 ovs (I Kishan 52, Utkarsh Singh 47, S Nadeem 53; P Rasool 5/99, A Aziz 5/63). J&K won by 106 runs (J&K 6 pts, Jharkhand 0) In Lahli: Haryana 223 & 179/5 decl in 55 ovs. Rajasthan 150 & 59/7 in 39 ovs (H Patel 3/29, A Hooda 3/8). Match drawn (Haryana 3 pts, Rajasthan 1) In Rajkot: Saurashtra 570 & 98/1in 30.3 ovs (R Uthappa 64*). Gujarat 413 in 145.1ovs (R Bhatt 107; J Unadkat 4/83). Match drawn (Saurashtra 3 pts, Gujarat 1) Points tally: Saurashtra (23/4), Gujarat (20/4), Kerala (18/4), J&K (9/5), Jharkhand (8/5); Rajasthan (5/4), Haryana 3/4)