Zaheer injures calf but Mumbai have foot in QFs
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After looking out of sorts for most of the Ranji season, Mumbai can relax a little as they head into the new year. Having put up 447 runs in response to Gujarat's 244 at the DY Patil stadium, they then reduced the visitors in their second innings to 159/5. With a day to go, Mumbai still lead by 44 runs. Three points are all but assured and only a major upset will see them not make the quarterfinals.
However, the good news would be tempered with the fact that their new captain Zaheer Khan is out of action for at least two weeks. The pacer suffered yet another fitness concern — this time a calf strain. The incident took place in the morning of the third day when Zaheer took a quick single during Mumbai's innings. Despite appearing to be in pain, he continued to bat. Mumbai Ranji team physio Niranjan Pandit later monitored him and advised at least two weeks rest.
Although Zaheer spent most of the day inside the dressing room, his absence was not immediately felt as Mumbai's bowlers, with a lead of 203, managed to restrict Gujarat. Javed Khan, who replaced Zaheer with the new ball, got the wicket of opener Smit Patel in the sixth over with the score on 13. The batsman tried to flick but couldn't control his stroke as ball sailed straight in the hands of substitute Shoaib Shaikh. One-drop Bhargav Merai got a decent start but his straight cover drive went to substitute Vishal Dabolkar, who took a neat catch off part time bowler Suryakumar Yadav.
With his team's hopes resting on him, skipper Parthiv Patel got off to a good start. He had reached 47 at run a ball with four fours and one six and looked set to play a marathon innings when Javed Khan induced a thick edge which was taken by Wasim Jaffer at first slip. Left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan, who had earlier got opener Samit Gohel, later got Rujul Bhatt in the final few overs of days play.
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