Lethargic Mumbai take foot off pedal in 2nd inns

When the Mumbai Ranji side arrived in Indore for the match against Madhya Pradesh, they must have come fully planned on how to achieve maximum points from their penultimate group game. In a spot of bother with no outright wins in the previous six, the think-tank surely must have covered the minutest details in terms of strategy and in terms of executing their plan.

Until Monday evening, the third and penultimate evening of this game, everything had gone according to well-thought-out instructions. Mumbai bowled out MP, claiming the last five wickets quickly. The visitors had gained a first innings lead of 60. However, the approach to Mumbai's second essay with the bat was all but according to their strategies.

More than just a tad surprising, instead of aiming to score at about 100 runs a session and push for an outright win, Mumbai sat back and scored leisurely. At the end of the first session, they were 48 for no loss. While one excuse could be that batting is still a bit difficult on a pitch which still contains carry and bounce, Mumbai surely could have taken more liberties with a star-studded batting line-up.

Their openers did, briefly, with Aditya Tare and Kaustubh Pawar adding 69 runs for the first wicket in 14.2 overs. But long after MP dismissed Tare on 42, caught in the cordon off Ishwar Pandey, it wasn't easy going for the 39-time champions. Pawar, the first innings centurion, went soon after, unable to negotiate an Amarjeet Singh ball that stayed low from the backfoot.

At this stage, in walked Hiken Shah to join Mumbai's most experienced bat in the middle, Wasim Jaffer. Suryakumar Yadav, the young talent who has a knack for scoring quick runs, remained seated with his pads on in the dressing room.

... contd.

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