Musheer 136 and Iyer 95 assist Mumbai in setting a massive goal for Vidarbha.

Musheer Khan’s century helped Mumbai secure their place in the Ranji Trophy 2023–24 final. At the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai amassed 418 runs in the second innings and set a mammoth goal of 538 runs for Vidarbha to win the championship. The 19-year-old hit a stubborn 136. At the conclusion of play on the third day, the visitors, in response, went to stumps on 10 for no loss.

On Tuesday, the left-arm spinner Harsh Dubey made an early breakthrough when he got Ajinkya Rahane to edge a toss that turned sharply to the goalkeeper. Just fifteen more runs might be added to the Mumbai captain’s nighttime total. But once he was fired, the scoring rate increased. While Musheer was preparing to end the poor deliveries, he mainly played defensive, Shreyas Iyer launched a counterattack.

Iyer was prepared to use the air, particularly when facing the spinners, Dubey and Karun Nair. He wasn’t too bothered by the pacers’ testing of back-of-length deliveries. His indecision against deliveries that were pitched away while he waited for the shorter ones frequently resulted in him playing incorrect strokes. After lunch, he ruled by example, lifting Dubey for a six off the first ball of the afternoon. In just 111 deliveries, he smashed 95, joining Musheer for 158 runs at the fourth wicket.

Iyer’s attempt to try for a six ultimately proved to be his undoing since he was caught at long off after failing to middle the big shot. Mumbai fell from 332 for 3 to 357 for 7 as Vidarbha stole some of the momentum from the team by dismissing three more batsmen, Hardik Tamore, Musheer, and Shardul Thakur, in the following 50 balls.

Even though Dhawal Kulkarni, Tanush Kotian, and Tushar Deshpande were unable to contribute significantly to the total, Mumbai’s lower order continued to hold firm. Nevertheless, Shams Mulani easily reached his fourth half-century when pairing with the three. Dubey, who bowled 48 overs in his fifer innings, was targeted by him. Due to a back problem, Aditya Sarwate was limited to bowling seven overs. As a result, the youthful left-arm spinner was left to shoulder the majority of the workload while bowling on a field that offered plenty of support for the spinners. Part-timers Karun, Atharva Taide, and Aman Mokade also contributed with ten overs, which included the wicket of Tushar Deshpande, leg before wicket, thanks to the latter.

Dubey and Yash Thakur, the most remarkable of the seamen, had an even heavier load to bear because of Umesh Yadav and Aditya Thakaray’s lack of sharpness. Musheer made extensive use of that throughout his 326-ball tenure in the middle. With the exception of one difficult opportunity for Dubey to catch at mid wicket, the teenager’s performance was almost entirely without risk as he scored his second First-Class century to guarantee Mumbai’s victory for the day.

Brief scores: Vidarbha 105 & 10 are trailed by 527 runs by Mumbai 224 & 418 (Musheer Khan 136, Shreyas Iyer 95; Harsh Dubey 5-144, Yash Thakur 3-79).

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