Title No 40. That’s what Mumbai have from their 44 Ranji Trophy final appearances in 79 seasons. They do know how to win a final, don’t they?
And to win in three days against first-time finalists Saurashtra speaks volumes of their strength and thorough domination in the premier domestic tourney.
Call it decimation or whatever, Mumbai not only stamped their authority on Saurashtra but also reaffirmed their position as a top Ranji team, something that was missing in the last two seasons.
The victory by an innings and 125 runs, coming 41 minutes after tea on Monday, brought Mumbai back on the roll of honour.
The title was, perhaps, a given when Mumbai qualified for the quarterfinals with that all-important seven-run win over Madhya Pradesh. Certainly, the title was more or less assured when Sachin Tendulkar made himself available from the quarterfinal stage onwards.
Mind you, Mumbai finished third in Group ‘A’ and still went on to win the trophy. And lest forgotten, they haven’t lost a match outright this season.
It needn’t be reiterated that Mumbai have a sense of the big occasion. The same can’t be said about Saurashtra.
The visitors succumbed to swinging and seaming deliveries, beautifully controlled by Dhaval Kulkarni, who returned figures of 5/32 and 9/56 in the game. This was Kulkarni’s second successive five-for. Skipper Ajit Agarkar (4/15), too, kept an impressive line around the middle and off-stump, the moving ball inducing the inevitable edges. Saurashtra collapsed to 148 on Day
One, and were worse in the second dig, folding up for 82 after being reduced to 20 for six at one stage.
Their batsmen are not accustomed to playing on seaming tracks. Bred on Rajkot’s flat decks — and in recent times at the SCA Stadium in Khanderi — they were found wanting against the moving ball. Mumbai’s medium pacers claimed 17 of the 20 Saurashtra wickets. Saurashtra’s showing here should be an eye-opener to their state association. Maybe, it’ll impress upon them the need to prepare sporting wickets.
When play resumed on Monday, Saurashtra’s medium-pacers also failed to make most of the early morning assistance from the pitch. Though Kulkarni edged Siddharth Trivedi to first slip, where Sitanshu Kotak pulled off a low catch diving forward, Hiken Shah (55) and Ankeet Chavan (41) went on without much ado. Shah, one of the many key players for Mumbai this season, reached his half-century as the lead swelled, sapping his opponents’ spirit with it.
Saurashtra 1st inns: 148
Mumbai 1st inns (O/N 287/6): H Shah c Jogiyani b Sanandiya 55,
D Kulkarni c Kotak b Trivedi 18,
A Chavan c&b Makwana 41,
S Thakur c&b Makwana 10,
V Dabholkar not out 0;
Extras: (LB10, W2, NB13) 25
Total (all out, 119 overs) 355
Fall of Wickets: 6-237 (75.6 ov, Agarkar), 7-288 (97.5 ov, Kulkarni), 8-329 (111.4 ov, H Shah), 9-344 (116.6 ov, Thakur), 10-355
(118.6 ov, Chavan)
Bowling: J Unadkat 32-3-73-0 (NB2), S Trivedi 25-7-54-2 (W1, NB8), S Sanandiya 27-9-73-2
(W1, NB3), D Jadeja 19-0-96-2,
K Makwana 16-2-49-3
Saurashtra (2nd innings):
S Kotak c Tare b Agarkar 0,
S Jogiyani c Tare b Agarkar 0, R Dave c Chavan b Kulkarni 5, A Vasavada lbw b Agarkar 0, J Shah b Kulkarni 6, S Jackson b Kulkarni 9, K Makwana c H Shah b Nayar 7, S Sanandiya c Dabholkar b Kulkarni 16, J Unadkat c Tare b Agarkar 9, D Jadeja c Tare b Kulkarni 22, S Trivedi not out 0; Extras: (B1, W1, NB6) 8
Total: (all out, 36.3 overs) 82
Fall of Wickets: 1-0 (0.3 ov, Kotak), 2-5 (4.5 ov, Jogiyani), 3-5 (5.5 ov, Dave), 4-11 (8.6 ov, Vasavada), 5-11 (9.1 ov, J Shah), 6-20 (13.3 ov, Jackson), 7-34 (19.6 ov, Makwana), 8-53 (25.4 ov, Sanandiya), 9-82 (35.3 ov, Unadkat), 10-82 (36.3 ov, Jadeja)
Bowling: A Agarkar 9-5-15-4,
D Kulkarni 14.3-7-32-5, S Thakur 8-2-29-0 (NB6), A Nayar 3-0-3-1 (W1), A Chavan 2-1-2-0