Thu, 15 Nov 2018
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Santo Domingo

Shaw v Siraj the highlight in Mumbai's march to final

ESPNCricInfo
17 Oct 2018, 21:42 GMT+10

3:00 AM ET

Mumbai 155 for 2 (Shaw 61, Iyer 55*) beat Hyderabad 246 for 8 (Rohit Rayudu 121*, Deshpande 3-55) by 60 runs (VJD method)

After heavy rain ended the contest early, it was Mumbai who marched into the Vijay Hazare Trophy final by recording their ninth consecutive win in the competition, but Hyderabad, who weren't even sure of their participation until 12 hours prior to their first fixture, can walk away a proud side.

Rohit Rayudu, the younger cousin of Ambati Rayudu, displayed admirable composure to make 122 not out. Struggling on 52 off 95 at one stage with the lower order for company, he ensured Hyderabad almost doubled their score in the last 15 overs to post a competitive 246 for 8. It wasn't enough, though, with Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer scoring half-centuries as Mumbai won by the VJD method. A drizzle that turned into a torrential downpour forced the players off the field with Mumbai 155 for 2 in 25 overs. They didn't return.

The spice in the contest was provided by two people who were part of India's dressing room until four days ago.

There are many who think Mohammed Siraj and Shaw ought to be in the mix for India in limited-overs cricket too, and not just Test cricket. Shaw, of course, announced his entry in Tests in grand style, with a Man-of-the-Series performance against West Indies on debut.

Siraj was considered unlucky for not making his own debut against West Indies, with the team management ignoring his red-hot form and opting to give the cap to Shardul Thakur, who limped out of the attack with his Test career just 1.4 overs old.

On Wednesday, both Shaw and Siraj showed why pitch-forking them to the top level in ODIs might be a good idea. Siraj finished with first-spell figures of 3-0-33-0, while Shaw hit a fifty off just 34 balls, but for anyone watching both were winners.

Siraj was introduced in the fifth over, but the stage had been set in the third over itself. Shaw had just slogged Akash Bhandari's legspin wide of long-on for a boundary when he pulled up clutching his right shoulder. Play was held up while the physio ran out to treat him, and Shaw resumed, but the shoulder was still troubling him.

Siraj opted for a short-ball attack. It would perhaps have been his go-to tactic anyway, having seen that Shaw could be uncomfortable when the ball was climbing into his body, particularly against the West Indies quick Shannon Gabriel. With an injured right shoulder, it made sense to force Shaw to use his bottom hand more.

Siraj had Shaw in some trouble in the first over, and the action peaked in his next. The first ball went to the long-on boundary, but off a toe-ended pull that just cleared mid-on. Siraj then got his bouncer on target, and Shaw got a top edge on a pull to fine-leg. M Ravi Kiran ran in, got both hands to the ball while tumbling forward, and saw it pop right out. Three balls later, there was a similar chance, but easier. Standing not as far back, Ravi Kiran reached another top-edged pull in time, but the ball popped in and out again.

Siraj had handled the first drop reasonably calmly, but he was seething now, standing mid-pitch with hands on his hips and eyes that could bore a hole in the ground. Captain Ambati Rayudu gave vent to his feelings, staying mid-pitch after Siraj had walked off and glaring at the fielder.

Ravi Kiran had to bowl the next over, and he had Rayudu and Siraj at mid-off and mid-on. Both put their anger aside to huddle with the bowler and offer words of encouragement, with Siraj patting him on the back. With shoulders almost visibly drooping, Ravi Kiran opted to play safe, bowling slower balls in the channel to get a quiet over in.

Siraj came back for his third over. Perhaps expecting a shorter one, Shaw hung back to the second delivery. It thudded in full and it was ball hitting bat rather than the other way round. The bat flew out of Shaw's hands, and he was clutching his shoulder again. If Siraj thought he had won, there was one final act left, and the over ended with three short balls going for 6, 6, 4. Siraj's effort and fury should have got him Shaw's wicket, now it worked against him, with Shaw ready to pounce, and the balls not rising quite as high either.

The last shot took Shaw to his half-century, making it the fourth time in four innings in this tournament that he had passed the milestone.

The scorecard will show that Shaw took 29 runs off the 14 balls he faced from Siraj. Scorecards don't always capture the whole story - but perhaps the watching selectors might have.

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