Ranji Trophy final: Job is far from done for Mumbai against Vidarbha, says Shams Mulani

Mumbai, Mar 11 (PTI) Senior left-arm spinner Shams Mulani feels that Mumbai team cannot afford to be complacent despite having an overall lead of 260 runs after two days in the Rnji Trophy final against Vidarbha.

Mumbai, Mar 11 (PTI) Senior left-arm spinner Shams Mulani feels that Mumbai team cannot afford to be complacent despite having an overall lead of 260 runs after two days in the Rnji Trophy final against Vidarbha.

Mumbai produced an all-round show on the second day at the Wankhede Stadium to take complete command, bowling out Vidarbha for a mere 105 in the first innings to earn a big 119-run lead.

In their second innings, Mumbai were jolted twice early on but skipper Ajinkya Rahane (58 not out) and Musheer Khan (51 not out) led a resolute fightback with an unbeaten 107-run stand for the third wicket to take second innings score to 141/2.

'Three days are left (in the game). We have not thought about anything else other than batting. Yes, we have got a healthy lead but we will look to build on it and see how we can improve and take the game away from them as much as possible,' Mulani told the media after stumps.

'Right now, we feel that we need to bat. There's no target in mind because we are just thinking that it's just 141. We are not thinking of the lead as of now. It's just 141 for two and we will bat along — the game is still a long way to go,' he added.

Mulani said Rahane's timely unbeaten fifty was worth celebrating like a century for the Mumbai dressing room.

'We celebrated like it was a hundred because we knew how important this small milestone for him is. For the team, for himself, in this situation, it was very important that he stays on the wicket,” Mulani said.

The domination for Mumbai was, however, set up by veteran Dhawal Kulkarni, who snaffled two key wickets on first day evening and bowled a measly spell of 11-5-15-3 while adding one more dismissal to his kitty.

Mulani said to see former India medium pacer Kulkarni excelling in his final game of his career was 'emotional'.

'It was emotional moment for all of us. For him, obviously it was very emotional. But coming the way he did —he didn't play the last four games but it didn’t feel like he has not played,' Mulani said.

'Him coming in at a crucial stage like the finals and delivering… Coming in is a different thing and delivering in the finals is a different thing. We are very happy for him as a unit,' Mulani said.

The left-arm spinner also heaped praise on Musheer for his gritty 51 not out, revealing a dressing room conversation between the Mumbai players, including his elder brother Sarfaraz Khan, from last year when the 18-year-old made his debut.

'Last year, when Musheer made his debut, Sarfaraz told the dressing room that what others do, this guy can do much better than that,” Mulani revealed.

'He knew what (kind of) character Musheer is — the gritty character that he is. He has shown that, coming into the knockouts from the (U-19) World Cup,' he added.

Mulani also credited his team for being disciplined enough to bundle out Vidarbha inside one session on the second day.

'Discipline was the major thing, where we picked the wickets because we didn't give too many bad balls in the initial overs. In 14-15 overs (or so), we gave around 20-25 runs. We put the pressure on them by not giving too many runs and bowling in the right channel,' he added.

Meanwhile, Vidarbha pacer Yash Thakur admitted his team is behind in the game but expressed confidence of a turnaround given the amount of time left in the contest.

'It is a long game, a five-day game. We have a chance to come back and we believe in that we will come back in this game,” Thakur said.

'It is a part of the game that we collapsed. We are behind in the game but you don’t know, cricket is a funny game and you can make a comeback anytime,' he added.

Talking about Vidarbha’s collapse in the morning session — the visitors lost seven wickets for 74 runs — Thakur said his team had a batting plan in place but failed to execute.

'What should I say? We had planned but unfortunately it did not happen our way. They were bowling well and we suddenly collapsed — it was a bad session — I can certainly say that,” he added. PTI DDV KHS DDV KHS KHS

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