Ranji Trophy semifinal: Yashasvi Jaiswal leads Mumbai rescue act against UP

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A few months ago, Yashasvi Jaiswal didn’t find his name in the Mumbai Ranji Trophy playing XI. Sitting out for three consecutive games can be frustrating but the youngster knew his time will come.

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“It was a tough time. Only players can understand the situation when you are not playing. No one will understand the emotions one goes through but I said ‘koi nahi (don’t worry), I will keep trying,’” Jaiswal said.

From being dropped to scoring back-to-back Ranji Trophy hundreds, Jaiswal has returned stronger and a better player. During the recent Indian Premier League season for Rajasthan Royals, he was dropped after three games but made an impressive comeback.

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Something similar has happened for Mumbai. Jaiswal managed to get his first hundred in the second innings of the quarterfinal against Uttarakhand and on the opening day of their last-four clash in Bengaluru, he slammed another ton as Mumbai posted 260 for 5 at stumps against Uttar Pradesh.

Apart from Jaiswal, Mumbai saw young Suved Parkar (32) and Sarfaraz Khan (40) getting starts but failing to capitalise. Wicketkeeper-batsman Hardik Tamore was unbeaten on 51 with Shams Mulani on 10.

Slow start

Jaiswal says he took his time and the message was clear from the dressing room that they need to tire out the bowlers. There was a time when Jaiswal felt a need to charge but coach Amol Muzumdar kept on passing messages asking them to be calm.

“There was a time when I felt ‘chalo, marte hai (let’s hit) but then Amol sir sent a message that just stay there even if runs don’t come for 15 minutes. We didn’t want to lose wickets,” the left-hander said.

Did muscle memory come into play, especially after playing T20 cricket for the past two months?

“I had only a two-day gap between the IPL final and Ranji Trophy. So, preparation-wise I didn’t get as much time as I would have loved, but am thankful to Zubin (Barucha) sir. The way he has trained me in the past three years has been a great help in switching from one format to another.”

Jaiswal’s innings came off 227 balls and had 15 fours. Somewhere inside him was an urge to prove himself in red-ball cricket. He had shown great promise in junior cricket but during the pandemic had a few challenges coming his way.

He was finding it tough to score consistent runs in the IPL but it all came together once he came back into the side after being dropped for three games.

Early setbacks

On Tuesday, UP won the toss and decided to field. They drew first blood when they got Mumbai captain Prithvi Shaw for a duck three balls into the game. Then Armaan Jaffer tried to flick one and was trapped in front by Shivam Mavi.

Mumbai saw Jaiswal and Parkar, who scored a double hundred on debut in the last game, holding fort. They added 63 runs for third wicket before Parkar chased a wide ball from Yash Dayal and found Saurabh Kumar at point.

Sarfaraz once again looked in great touch. But UP captain Karan Sharma brought himself on with his part-time off-spin, bowling a negative line and it worked.

Sarfaraz went for a reverse-sweep but only managed a top edge. Sharma soon got Jaiswal too.

Tamore looked impressive and his fifty had six fours and a six. Mumbai will now hope that its tail takes them to a challenging total.

Brief scores: Mumbai 260/5 (Jaiswal 100, Tamore 51 batting; Dayal 2/35, Karan Sharma 2/39) vs Uttar Pradesh

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