An unbeaten half century from Sachin Tendulkar put Mumbai in a winning position at the end of Day 3. Chasing a target of 240, Mumbai ended the day on 201/6 with Tendulkar and Dhawal Kulkarni at the crease.
Starting the day at 224/9, Haryana went on to add 17 more runs to the total and ended their second innings at 241 before Harshal Patel fell to Dhawal Kulkarni after a handy knock of 33 runs. That left Mumbai to chase a total of 240 since they had a slender lead of 2 runs in the first essay.
Mumbai got off to a poor start as the reliable Wasim Jaffer fell for just 1 in the very 2nd over to Harshal Patel. From there on, Ajinkya Rahane and Kaustubh Pawar strung together a partnership of 86 runs before Rahane was cleaned up by the off spinner Jayant Yadav for a well made 40.
The wicket of Rahane brought Sachin Tendulkar to the crease for the last knock of his life in Ranji Trophy cricket. The stadium was jam packed with spectators hoping to see a Tendulkar special and the master didn’t disappoint them as he notched up his 115th first class fifty and stayed unbeaten till the end of day’s play.
Pawar (47) fell after adding 22 with Tendulkar while Abhishek Nayar contributed 24 in a 51 run partnership. However, the Mumbai innings faltered after the dismissal of Abhishek Nayar. Aditya Tare (3) fell to a needless run out while Hiken Shah (8) stuck around for a while to offer a tame catch to Ajay Jadeja at mid off.
Tendulkar, on the other end, looked solid as ever and concentrated on rotating the strike. He looked solid in defence but sent the whole crowd in a frenzy when he unleashed his trade mark cover drive. He scampered to his fifty with a two fine leg and then saw out the day’s play with Dhawal Kulkarni.
For Haryana, Mohit Sharma and Joginder Sharma swung the ball prodigiously and created all sorts of problems for the Mumbai batsmen. However, Tendulkar remained calm and fended off any danger that the bowlers presented.
The last day will see Mumbai in need of just 39 more runs to win while Haryana needs only 4 wickets to swing the match in their favour. Mumbai’s hopes are largely hinged on Tendulkar while Ajay Jadeja will hope that his bowlers can knock over the Indian maestro quickly tomorrow.
Will Haryana get the remaining wickets or will Tendulkar guide Mumbai to a victory in his last Ranji game? Lahli has already seen a riveting contest and the last day promises to be an absolute cracker.