Mumbai’s first innings score of 374 looked reasonably good on day two, but Dubey (133, 336 balls) and Sharma (116, 215 balls) added 222 runs for the second wicket to take MP to a solid 368 for 3 at the end of the day. Three.
Madhya Pradesh now only need seven more runs to take a decisive lead in the first set and unless they suffer a collapse in the fourth set, the title is theirs.
Day 3: As it happened
MP had lost to Karnataka when they last appeared in a Ranji Trophy final in the 1998-99 season.
The duo took down Mumbai’s attack with batting “khadoos” (stubborn) straight out of Chandrakant Pandit’s coaches playbook as 245 runs were scored throughout the day, but more effectively they led Mumbai’s attack to shreds with their solid game plan.
1⃣0⃣2⃣ in the quarter-finals 👍1⃣0⃣0⃣ rising and strong in the #final 👌 It was an impressive show from Madhya… https://t.co/O6Y3Gf0BVm
— BCCI domestic (@BCCIdomestic) 1656057047000
ICYMI: Yash Dubey’s resolute 133-point opening act in @Paytm #RanjiTrophy #Final 👍 👍 Madhya Pradesh right-hander… https://t.co/QbOLlIxmaP
— BCCI domestic (@BCCIdomestic) 1656069562000
Rajat Patidar, one of RCB’s campaign heroes in the IPL, then used his newfound confidence to score an unbeaten 67 with 13 limits.
MP would definitely want to stretch their sleeves as much as possible so that Mumbai doesn’t have a chance to come back into the game.
The track at Chinnaswamy Stadium showed no signs of wear and the glorious sunshine only helped the MP batters set up easily against a Mumbai attack that was at an ordinary level.
The biggest disappointment was their left arm spinner Shams Mulani (1/117 in 40 overs), who made too many loose deliveries.
Veteran Dhawal Kulkarni (21-3-51-0) and experienced Tushar Deshpande (24-8-73-1) were also below par as they consistently gave batters driving length in the session in the morning.
Instead of conjuring up early overs and building up the pressure slowly, in the first half hour they allowed Dubey and Sharma to easily hit several cover drives for attention.
Kulkarni, the only man of this setup to win a Ranji Trophy, made too many deliveries off the stump that were left alone.
The only time he looked menacing was when Dubey looked away from a short ball and was knocked down.
When Mulani arrived, Sharma pushed him further for a six, leaving his skipper Prithvi Shaw frustrated.
Mulani threw too many long balls and sometimes full pitches to make life for hitters a lot easier.
While Dubey hit 14 limits and Sharma had 15 hits and a max under his belt, what stood out during their partnership was their run between the wickets.
That Dubey (613 points) and Sharma (578 points) have been standout performers for MP this season was evident in their communication on the pitch, where they tapped the ball down the middle or down the middle to steal those quick singles.
People remember the limits, but Dubey and Sharma ran 76 singles between them in their two-hundred-plus partnership.
Barring Arman Jaffer missing a regulation catch from Sharma in the short term, Mumbai hardly created any chances although Mohit Avasthi (20-5-53-1) could be credited with bowling a channel.
Some of their calls were outrageous and once Shaw was seen waving at referee Virender Sharma to explain why he couldn’t hear a nickname when replays showed there was clearly none .
Dubey in fact, after scoring his cent, repeated the ‘Sidhu Moosewala’ celebration (thigh kick and index finger pointing skyward), but it was more about bringing a point back to Sarfaraz Khan, who was sledding with the duo.
By the time Sharma was caught behind Avasthi and Dubey gave Mulani something to cheer for after another 72-run third wicket, some of the Mumbai players were on their hunches.
Patidar was breaking them for fun and the writing is clearly on the wall.
Mumbaikar Pandit’s Madhya Pradesh is going with this one unless there is a miracle in the last couple of days.
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