Soon after earning a draw, and three points that go with their first innings lead, the Baroda players and the support staff formed a circle by the boundary line at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday evening.
It looked like coach Atul Bedade was appreciating the individual efforts of the team and there were repeated loud claps to appreciate each player’s role.
Baroda were not supposed to dominate the game. Their team was without the high-profiled Pathan and the Pandya brothers. Toss played a crucial role. Their seamers rocked Mumbai on the opening day to skittle out the most experienced Ranji Trophy team in their 500th match for just 171. Their batsmen made the most of the strip that was becoming flatter with every passing session, with only the rough patches on the outside the only help to the spinners. Two batsmen scored centuries, two others scored half-centuries and they were enough to take the game away from Mumbai.
Their young captain Deepak Hooda, after trying various possibilities on the final day to bowl out Mumbai, still had a smile. But inside him, he was not pleased with just the three points from the game. “Not really happy with the draw,” Hooda admitted. “But, you cannot ask for more. As a young side, the team did well. We just got unlucky with the No Ball.”
Swapnil Singh overstepped the line when Siddhesh Lad, on 57, was caught at short mid-wicket and at that time, Baroda had 30-plus overs to take the remaining wickets.
Hooda operated his spinners for a large part of the day. “There was not much for the bowlers on the pitch. It became flat. The ball was not moving. I bowled the spinners so they could send in their overs quickly and we would have had more overs at the batsmen.”
Hooda, who himself got a delightful 75 on the second day on Friday, was pleased with the performance at the Wankhede. “It feels good to play against a good side that plays competitive cricket. The confidence we have gained from this game will keep us in good stead in the future games,” the 22-ear-old said.
Baroda, fifth in the table with seven points, next host Odisha from Friday.
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