Mumbai added yet another feather in their cap as they cruised into the semis of Ranji Trophy beating Delhi by 204 runs and Shardul Thakur, their ace pacer, ending the match with figures of 8-113 runs including a five wicket hall in the first innings.
Chasing a stiff target of 441 runs, Delhi showed some resistance through Rajat Bhatia’s 49 off 122 balls, after Thakur dismissed the overnight batsman, Manan Sharma, for 16 runs. Bhatia then added 33 with Sehwag to take Delhi past 150. Sehwag (19) was then bowled out by medium pacer Balvinder Sandhu in the 56th over, putting an end to their partnership. Sandhu claimed three of the six wickets which fell on the last day. Though the last wicket stand between Pradeep Sangwan (26 not out) and Parvinder Awana (24) kept the Mumbai pacers on hold for a while, but they could not prevent the 40-time champions away from the semi-finals.
Earlier in the match, Mumbai’s opener Akhil Hedwarkar scored a marathon knock of 161 runs which enabled his team to post a respectable total of 450 on the board. Mumbai’s total was also boosted by valuable knocks from Shardul (20) and Harmeet Singh (30). The Aditya Tare-led side tore into the Delhi top-order and entered the semi-finals as favourites on the penultimate day of the test match.
Mumbai will have to take on the defending champions Karnataka in the semis. Karnataka, on the other hand, moved into the semis based on the first innings lead which they gained as their match with Assam ended in a draw. The semi-final will be played at Bangalore from February 25 to March 1.
Mumbai: 156 & 450 in 119.4 overs (Akhil Herwadkar 161, Shreyas Iyer 82; Manan Sharma 4-92)
Delhi: 166 & 110-4 in 42 overs overs (Gautam Gambhir 34, Rajat Bhatia 25 not out; Shardul Thakur 2-43).