Mumbai’s ‘Man of all Seasons’ Abhishek Nayar once again brought his best out in pressure situation to guide the defending champions to the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy beating Hyderabad by 30 runs in a closely-contested last-eight encounter.
Needing 232 to win, Hyderabad were dismissed for 201 on the final day as Nayar and left-arm spinner Vijay Gohil (5/64) doing the damage.
Top-order batsman Balachander Aniruddh’s dogged unbeaten 84 off 187 balls with four boundaries and two sixes was not enough with senior-most pro Nayar’s 5 for 40 enabling the title favourites to survive a scare despite being in the pole position going into the final day.
All the three wickets were taken by the veteran all-rounder who finished with match figures of 9 for 100 and also scored a half-century once again proving that who has been Mumbai’s most effective match-winner for a decade now.
Starting the day at 121 for 7 needing another 111 runs to win, Hyderabad with their No 3 Aniruddh at crease fought well with Chama Milind (29) adding 64 runs for the eighth wicket with Aniruddh.
While Mumbai needed three good deliveries, a score of 185 for 7 was a biot worrying before Nayar bowled his military medium stuff.
The man with the ‘Golden arm for Mumbai’ and the most ungainly action first got Milind to edge one to Adirya Tare and within two balls trapped Mohammed Siraj leg before.
Aniruddh now had a job of shielding No 11 Ravi Kiran (1) as well as score some runs. They did conjure up 16 runs for the final wicket before Ravi Kiran also edged to Tare as Mumbai once again made it to the last four of the competition.