Ranji Trophy 2024 Day 3: Vidarbha Faces Uphill Task of Chasing Down Massive Target of 538 at Stumps – News18

Young Musheer Khan (136) continued his rapid ascent with a superlative 135 to put Mumbai in an impregnable position on day 3 of the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha, with Shreyas Iyer (95) and Ajinkya Rahane (73) also making significant contributions here on Tuesday.

At stumps, Ranji Trophy behemoths Mumbai had one hand on their 42nd title after setting a humongous 538-run target against a battered Vidarbha, who remained without their most successful bowler Aditya Sarwate throughout the third day.

If the second day was all about Mumbai adopting a cautious approach to build their lead, day 3 witnessed their batters ramming home the advantage with a definite plan and execution as they put on 418 in their second innings.

Vidarbha were 10 for no loss in their second innings with openers Dhruv Shorey (7) and Atharva Taide (3) unscathed, needing another 528 runs to win with two days left in the game.

Despite having a strong grip on the game, Mumbai batters respected the fact that there is still plenty of time left in the contest and tables can turn quickly.

Hence, Mumbai’s approach on day 3 remained fixated on batting for long hauls and in the process taking the game as far away from the opposition, who have been battered.

Resuming at 58, Rahane began positively with a four but became a victim of left-arm Vidarbha spinner Harsh Dubey (5/144) for the second time in the contest.

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Rahane was caught behind for 73 off 143 balls with five fours and a six after Dubey found an outside edge off the Mumba skipper’s bat which was collected well by his counterpart Akshay Wadkar behind the wickets.

Iyer joined his captain Rahane in making the most of the opportunity, as a change in approach was evident for a batter who had been in the news for the wrong reasons.

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A lofted hit for a six over Vidarbha pacer Aditya Thakare’s head was the shot that Iyer began with, and for his 111-ball 95 which featured 10 fours and three sixes, the flamboyant batter outgunned his younger teammate Musheer and Rahane for the strokes that he hit.

Iyer’s innings was laced with strokes in all parts of the ground, though his fifty came up with an outside edge which flew between the two men positioned at the slip cordon.

Iyer’s outing was about two halves — one had Iyer stroking his way to get into 80s but in the other, the right-handed batter slowed down to such an extent that he ran out of patience and threw away his wicket.

Not only did Iyer slow down, but he also appeared to be struggling in the middle as the physio ran out twice to attend to the 29-year-old, helping him with some stretching exercises.

A mere five runs short of a century in the final, Iyer slashed hard on a delivery from Thakare but couldn’t connect. Two balls later, he went for a powerful swipe again which had the ball ballooning towards Aman Mokhade, who grabbed a comfortable catch at long-on.

Nevertheless, Iyer did a fine job of taking the game further away from Vidarbha as his fourth-wicket association with Musheer yielded 168 runs from 256 balls.

With Iyer accelerating from the other end, Musheer too appeared busier than before. The 18-year-old was accurate in finding gaps to collect singles and doubles with ease but at the same time, sticking with his cautious approach.

Having cracked 203 not out and 55 in the knockout contests of the Ranji Trophy this year, Musheer once again proved to be the glue in the Mumbai batting order as his 474-minute stay in the middle also worked in favour of the team.

Facing 326 balls, Musheer posted a patient 136 studded with 10 fours and looked set for a bigger score.

But he too fell to Dubey, as he did in the first innings, with the left-arm spinner’s delivery beating the curling bat, which came down to work the ball on the leg side, to crash into the pads.

Even though Mumbai’s famed tail did not wag for long for the second time in the game, Shams Mulani batted well scoring 50 not out off 85 balls with six fours to spruce up their total.

Brief scores: Mumbai 224 & 418 in 130.2 overs (Musheer Khan 136, Ajinkya Rahane 73, Shreyas Iyer 95, Shams Mulani 50*; Yash Thakur 3/79, Harsh Dubey 5/144) lead Vidarbha 105 & 10/0 in 2 overs (Atharva Taide 3*, Dhruv Shorey 7*) by 528 runs.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)