MUMBAI: Mumbai have lost many Ranji Trophy games over the years, but not very often have they been dominated in every single session on the first three days of a four-day encounter. Nevertheless, that was the story that had unfolded at the Wankhede going into the final day’s play against Baroda.
The hosts were staring at an outright defeat, trailing by a huge margin of 302 runs, with only six wickets in hand. What’s more, one of their batsmen was unlikely to come out and bat as he had missed most parts of the game due to injury.
They desperately needed all their remaining batsmen to contribute, and as has been the case so often in the recent past, their man to meet crisis in the eye, Siddhesh Lad, was game for the challenge. He stuck around for 238 balls and remained unbeaten on 71 as the hosts managed to salvage a point from the contest. Most recently, Lad had contributed to his team’s win against Odisha in the previous game, scoring 117 in the second innings.
These are the kind of knocks that have earned the 25-year-old the sobriquet of ‘Mumbai’s crisis man’. “I am trying harder to bat in good situations but it was very important today to save the game. From yesterday, the only thing that was there in my mind was to save the game and it came off well,” said a satisfied Lad after the match on Sunday.
“Since last night, the only thought that I had was to not get out at any cost. Personally, I was very hurt that we found ourselves in such a tough situation in our 500th game. I had to save this game for Mumbai at any cost. I was very motivated to do that,” he added.
Lad, who has endured lower back problems through the course of his career, was experiencing a stiff neck in the afternoon and the physio had to be called in on a few occasions to treat him.