Ranji Trophy: Bitter Delhi dose


Delhi grounded Mumbai to the dust at the Kotla on Friday to register their first Ranji Trophy outright win over the former kings of domestic cricket in 43 years. The defeat makes the Ajinkkya Rahane-led team’s position shaky in Group B and Mumbai will have to come up with a big performance in their next game against arch-rivals Maharashtra from January 24 at the Brabourne Stadium. Mumbai came into Day Four at 168 for 9. Tanush Kotian, who batted brilliantly the previous day, reached his half century, but Mumbai were soon bowled out for 170 just two overs into the day. 

Swift chase by hosts

Delhi reached their 95-run target swiftly in 15.3 overs, losing two wickets on the way. Debutant Vaibhav Sharma and Hrithik Shokeen did the bulk of the scoring with 36 runs apiece as Shams Mulani and Mohit Avasthi were the two wicket-takers for Mumbai. Vaibhav Rawal was adjudged the Man of the Match for his century in the first innings which helped Delhi open their points account for the Ranji Trophy season.

Sudhir Naik and Sunil More

Former Mumbai captain and chief selector Sudhir Naik felt there was something wrong in the camp. “It hurts a lot when we lose a Ranji match to Delhi. Someone told me that four Delhi players were unfit and there are a lot of issues in their association [DDCA], but despite this they have beaten Mumbai. It means there is something to be concerned about. There are definitely some problems [in the Mumbai team]. It doesn’t look like one team and they are not bothered about what happens to the team and results,” said Naik, who led Mumbai to the national championship triumph in 1971 apart from being a successful selector.

“Mumbai’s batting is supposed to be the best in India. How can all top batsmen get out so quickly? I think team spirit is lacking. Everyone’s  looking at their individual performance. Players perform well in one match and in the next game, they come up with a poor show. They need to regroup quickly before their last league match [against Maharashtra]. I feel Mumbai have only one bowler in [left-arm spinner] Shams Mulani, who is taking wickets consistently. The rest are not consistent enough; can’t depend on them,” added Naik.   

Also Read: Ranji Trophy: Not for the faint-hearted!

‘An off-day cost us’

Meanwhile, Mumbai’s interim chief selector Sunil More, who was with the team in Delhi, told mid-day: “Our intent was proper. An off-day cost us the match. It’s a big achievement for them. They won the toss and used home conditions perfectly while bowling first. I am very confident that our team will perform well [against Maharashtra] and qualify for the knockouts.”

Mumbai will miss the services of opener Prithvi Shaw in the all-important Maharashtra game as he will be on national duty in the T20I series against New Zealand while Divyansh Saxena will replace Musheer Khan for the game at the Brabourne Stadium.

Brief scores
Mumbai 293 & 170 (A Rahane 51, T Kotian 50*; D Mehra 5-30) lost to Delhi 369 & 97-2 (H Shokeen 36*, V Sharma 36; M Avasthi 1-24) by eight wickets



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