Fazal, Nair stun Mumbai in historic chase

Rest of India 306 (Nair 94, Nayar 3-35) and 482 for 6 (Fazal 127, Nair 94, Jackson 59*, Binny, 54, Abdulla 5-154) beat Mumbai 603 (Suryakumar 156, Bista 104, Jayant 4-132) and 182 (Lad 60, Suryakumar 49, Jayant 4-93, Unadkat 3-16) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

File photo: Faiz Fazal set the base for Rest of India’s daunting chase of 480 with a well-crafted 127 © PTI

A day of runs culminated in Rest of India capping off the third-highest chase in Indian first-class cricket at the Brabourne Stadium. Faiz Fazal, Karun Nair and Stuart Binny played stellar roles on the fifth and final day as Rest of India chased down Mumbai’s imposing target of 480. That made it the eighth unsuccessful attempt at lifting the Irani Cup for Mumbai, who last won it in 1997-98.

Fazal’s century set the base in their steep chase of 480, but the belligerence of Nair gave them a chance. Binny and Sheldon Jackson then hit attractive half-centuries, more crucially adding 92 for the sixth wicket, before the lower order completed the formalities in the dying moments of play.

Rest of India began the day needing 380 with nine wickets in hand. Fazal and Sudip Chatterjee, overnight on 41 and 17 respectively, ate into the target courtesy the odd singles, without showing any intent as it briefly looked like Rest of India may be content with a draw. But their plan of starting slow, create a good footing and then launch became evident as the first session progressed as they went into lunch having added 111 for the loss of Chatterjee.

Fazal opened up after lunch to bring up a century, but it was Nair who triggered the launch. After a few early sighters, he threw the bowlers off guard by reverse sweeping the innocuous offspin of Jay Bista. As runs started to flow, Mumbai went into a defensive line shortly into the second session. Nair was particularly impressive against spin, using his feet nicely to smother the spin and hit through the line on a surface that lacked the deterioration of a typical fifth day track.

Although Nair played a chanceless inning, Mumbai would rue the lives offered to Fazal, who was spared when he was 104, 111 and 113. But both Fazal, who was eventually out for 127, and Nair remained otherwise unperturbed and smartly dealt with the negative leg side line adopted by Iqbal Abdulla, in particular. Unfortunately for Nair, he missed out on a deserved century for the second time in the match as he top edged a sweep to short fine leg on 94. By now, ROI were in charge but adrift by 140.

Mumbai celebrated loudly Nair’s wicket with gusto and got the second wind in their sails when Akhil Herwadkar at point broke the stumps while charging in from point when Sheldon Jackson decided to take a cheeky single having tapped Dhawal Kulkarnin in front of square. But Herwadkar’s fantastic pick and throw found Naman Ojha, the Resr of India captain, short of the crease. Ojha was unimpressed by Jackson’s decision to take a tight single.

There was sudden excitement as the 100-odd spectators cheered Mumbai on to pull off a coup. But that was extinguished by Stuar Binny, who lay into a tired attack with a mix of brutal hits and smart singles. He brought up his half-century off just 43 deliveries with five boundaries and two towering sixes, to take Rest of India to within 25 runs of the target before he sliced one to point. Jackson, who played second fiddle for large parts of his 92-run stand for the sixth wicket, steered the chase through, hitting the winning runs with a clean loft over the infield to finish unbeaten on 59.

That Rest of India found themselves chasing on 480 after conceding a 297-run lead was courtesy Jaydev Unadkat and Jayant Yadav, who picked up seven wickets between them to bundle Mumbai out for 182 in the second innings.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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