Ranji Trophy: Mumbai drops catches, points as Odisha earn draw
Mumbai knew they had to strike early in the first session of the last day's play yesterday to stand any chance of claiming an outright victory against Odisha in their last Ranji Trophy league match at the Wankhede Stadium.
And the hosts got a couple of golden opportunities too, but failed to capitalise on them and had to settle for a draw. Mumbai, on 23 points from six games, could manage only three points from this match thereby losing the top spot in Group ‘A’ to Karnataka (26).
Mumbai had a 130-run advantage at the start of the fourth and final day yesterday, but that cushion kept gradually slipping out of hands thanks to Odisha’s first innings centurion Natraj Behera, who scored another ton (127 not out) in the second stint, and Niranjan Behera’s 57. A couple of dropped catches made things worse for Mumbai.
Medium-pacer Shardul Thakur provided a massive opportunity for the hosts to strike as early as the fifth over of the day. But Hiken Shah failed to take an easy catch at second and Niranjan heaved a sigh of relief. Then, Natraj was dropped on 61 by Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer in the slips off debutant leggie Pravin Tambe in the 27th over of the day.
Odisha were 356-5 when both captains called off play mutually after the mandatory overs. Jaffer admitted the dropped catches hurt the hosts. “Those two dropped catches cost us the game. Had we taken them, we could’ve had a result. But there’s no complaint from my side as the players put in a lot of effort,” said Jaffer, who is leading a rather young Mumbai side in the absence of seniors.
Odisha coach Debasish Mohanty meanwhile, was satisfied with his team’s show. “There was more application from the batsmen in the second innings. I’m happy with our performance. We did well to draw the game,” said the former India pacer.