Mumbai thrash Punjab to top Group A

Mumbai: Mumbai pipped Punjab by nine wickets on Saturday on the fourth and final day of their concluding Ranji Trophy Elite Division league tie to rocket to the top of Group A with 25 points.

The 39-time champions, who already had a first innings lead of 204, shot out the visitors for 330 in their second essay and then surged to the target, making 132 for one with more than 10 out of the 15 mandatory overs to spare at the Wankhede Stadium.

The victory for Mumbai also knocked out Punjab from the competition.

The hosts, who had booked a berth in the last eight stage even before the start this match, now await the quarterfinal draw to be made on December 26 by the Cricket Board to know their next round opponents.

Punjab`s goose was as good as cooked when they, needing an outright win to qualify, lost the plot in the first innings itself today.

Chasing 127, Mumbai lost opener Kaustubh Pawar (23) early but the second wicket pair of left-handed opener Praful Waghela and captain Wasim Jaffer hit half-centuries each to put up an unbeaten stand of 94 and guide Mumbai home to their third outright win of the season from seven matches, and maiden one at home this season.

Waghela remained unconquered on 57 with four hits to the fence and a six that heralded the home team`s victory in the 24th over.

Jaffer, whose return to form has coincided with his decision to vacate the opening slot, made his second successive half-ton of the match -- 50 not out, also with the help of four boundaries and a six. He had scored 82 in Mumbai`s first essay to overtake former teammate Amol Muzumdar as the highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy.

Earlier, Punjab resumed their second innings at 203 for four and applied themselves well to put up some resistance before left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan ended their defiance with a four wickets for 23.


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