Feature image: Twitter/ @bccidomestic

The Mumbai team continued their fine start to their 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season, as they seem on course to get a hard-fought draw in the game against Uttar Pradesh at the Wankhede Stadium. The key proprietor to Mumbai’s valiant fightback was young batsman Sarfaraz Khan, who scored a magnificent triple hundred to give his side a first innings lead and a couple of additional points.

The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first, putting up a massive score of 625 in the first innings, with wicket-keeper batsman Upendra Yadav getting a double century. In reply, Mumbai were initially in a spot of bother with the score reading 128/4 when Sarfaraz walked out to bat.

The diminutive batsman, who represents Kings XI Punjab in the VIVO Indian Premier League, rebuilt the Mumbai innings, forging a 210 run partnership alongside Siddhesh Lad. The duo batted for the better part of almost two sessions, grinding out the opposition bowlers in the process.

Lad was ultimately dismissed by Mohammad Saif, but Sarfaraz kept firing on all cylinders as he got a partnership going with captain Aditya Tare. The two added 179 for the seventh wicket, as Sarfaraz got to his maiden double hundred in the process of that partnership with a neat flick to the deep mid-wicket.

The 22-year-old, however, was just whetting his appetite as he continued to bat brilliantly, this time getting a partnership going with Shams Mulani. The duo played cautiously till the tea break, but switched gears in the final session of play. Sarfaraz hit seven fours and two sixes in that quickfire blitz in the last session, as he got to a first-ever triple hundred of his First Class career. He became only the second batsman ever in Ranji Trophy to score a triple hundred while batting at sixth position or lower, emulating the record of fellow KXIP player Karun Nair.

Sarfaraz remained unbeaten at 301 at the end of day’s play, with his efforts ensuring Mumbai got a first innings lead in that Ranji game. The young batsman hit 30 fours and eight sixes in that innings, shepherding the Mumbai batting line-up which was missing a few senior players like Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav and Shardul Thakur. Having rose to fame through his aggressive, unorthodox shots in the shorter formats of the game, Sarfaraz showed great maturity and application to curb his natural instincts and play the long haul.   

Mandeep Singh gets gritty fifty

Another of Kings XI Punjab’s players, Mandeep Singh, starred for Punjab in their Ranji Trophy game against Gujarat. The Punjab skipper scored a gritty half-century in the first innings, reducing the lead of their opponents to 52 runs. In the same game, Arshdeep Singh picked up a couple of wickets in the second innings. Their best efforts, however, weren’t enough to get Punjab over the line, as Gujarat won by 110 runs.