Mumbai: Mumbai grabbed a handsome 204-run first innings lead over Punjab and then put the visitors under pressure by reducing them to 203 for four on day three of their four-day concluding Elite Group A Ranji Trophy match at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday. (Agencies)
Resuming at their overnight 308 for 5 in reply to Punjab's paltry first innings score of 226, Mumbai were all out for 430 after batting for 110 minutes this morning and then pressed on for a victory.
Punjab, 56 for 2, were rallied by a century stand between captain Uday Kaul (63 not out) and their leading scorer of the season Mayank Siddhana (57), but it was broken in the last half hour to close when the latter departed.
Mumbai grabbed another wicket by dismissing Amitoz Singh cheaply and at stumps Kaul, who has batted for 218 minutes and faced 176 balls, had new batsman Bipul Sharma (1) for company.
Though the wicket held no devils for the batsmen, Mumbai would be fancying their chances on Saturday for an outright win and five points to go with it, having dismissed the main batsmen barring the left-handed Kaul.
Kshemal Waingankar bagged 2 for 55 in three spells, including the wicket of Amitoz Singh after he was brought on late for a new spell by Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer, while the other wickets were shared equally by first innings hero and debutant Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr) and Ramesh Powar.
Off spinner Powar gave the crucial breakthrough before close when he induced Siddhana to drive and had him caught at short mid wicket after a vigil of 202 minutes. The batsman struck seven fours and a six in 120 balls.
In the morning, Punjab were unable to break the sixth- wicket partnership between Chavan and Powar early and the duo punished the bowling to take Mumbai towards a big lead.
The two lower-order batsmen remained together well into the first session by putting on 125 runs in just under 31 overs after having come together last evening.
Powar, who cracked 11 fours and two sixes in his 98-ball innings, was the batsman dismissed by Rahul Sharma to break the stand at 382, but the left-handed Chavan added 47 runs with Sandhu (12) to push the total well past 400.
Chavan, who slammed four sixes and eight fours in his 144-ball essay, was the lone victim of left arm spinner Bipul Sharma.
With the injured Sushant Marathe and Avishkar Salvi not able to bat, Mumbai's innings ended once Sandhu was sent back by Rahul Sharma.
Trailing by over 200 runs, Punjab lost opener Ravi Inder Singh cheaply while Sarul Kanwar threw caution to the winds to make a belligerent 48 in only 29 balls with 9 fours and a six before he was trapped in front by Sandhu.
Siddhana, promoted to no.3, and his captain Kaul steadied the innings with their partnership of 124 in 271 balls in three hours.
Just when it looked as if the duo would carry on the fight on the last day, the former fell to a loose shot.
Punjab would have to bat out at least two full sessions on Saturday to deny Mumbai more than three points.
But even a draw would not be sufficient for Punjab to gain an entry into the quarter finals, a feat already accomplished by the hosts and 39-time champions.
Brief scores: Punjab 226 and 203 for 4 (S Kanwar 48, M Siddhana 57, U Kaul batting 63, B Sharma batting 1; K Waingankar 2 for 55).
Mumbai 430 (K Pawar 46, W Jaffer 82, S Yadav 64, A Chavan 73, R Powar 81; Harmeet Singh 2 for 67, Rahul Sharma 3 for 129).
Mumbai: Mumbai grabbed a handsome 204-run first innings lead over Punjab and then put the visitors under pressure by reducing them to 203 for four on day three of their four-day concluding Elite Group A Ranji Trophy match at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.