Mumbai win their 42nd Ranji title after a wait of 8 years

By Real11 - Mar 14 2024 160 Views

Mumbai clinch 42nd Ranji title to put an end to eight year wait

Mumbai shattered Vidarbha’s resistance on the final day and clinched 42nd Ranji Trophy title and their first since the 2015-16 season. All rounder Tanush Kotian and pacer Tushar Deshpande broke Vidarbha's dream and bundled them out for 368, in the titanic chase of 538, after skipper Akshay Wadkar and rookie Harsh Dubey had survived the morning session without any loss. 

Befittingly, it was veteran Dhawal Kulkarni who secured the win for Mumbai in what was his final game for them. With his skipper Ajinkya Rahane and the Wankhede crowd cordially cheering him on, Dhawal dismissed Umesh Yadav to give himself a winning farewell. Having picked up a five-for in the fourth innings of his first Ranji final, against Uttar Pradesh, back in 2009, Kulkarni finished as a certified domestic legend for Mumbai. 

Kulkarni entrusted Mumbai's attack to Deshpande, who showcased his dominance against Vidarbha on the final day with a relentless barrage of around-the-wicket bouncers. Mohit Avasthi, who had been one of Mumbai's most successful wicket-takers this season with 35 dismissals in eight games, unfortunately, couldn't participate in the final due to an injury. Consequently, Kulkarni stepped in to fill Avasthi's position and maintain the team's formidable bowling performance.

Shreyas Iyer who didn’t come out to field for second consecutive day due to back complaint. But that didn’t prevent Mumbai from re-establishing their reign in the domestic circuit. 

Kotian, who ended the season with 502 runs and 29 wickets, bagged the Player of the tournament award. It was Kotian who blew the game wide open for the hosts on the final day when he straightened one from around the wicket and caught Wadkar in front of the wicket for 102 after lunch. He then knocked out Yash Thakur to seal the win for Mumbai. 

Earlier in the morning, Wadkar and Dubey had caused a few headaches for Mumbai as they put on an excellent run stand to keep the hosts at bay. Wadkar, in particular, was tiring the bowlers. Dubey was taking the attack to the opposition at the other end.

Kotian could have ended Dubey’s inning at 13 had Mumbai reviewed an on-field not-out decision after the offspinner had caught him on the pads. Replays suggested that the ball would have gone to hit leg stump. 

Dubey survived close lbw appeals at 17 and 18 off Kotian and Kulkarni respectively. He gave Wadkar good company and stitched a valuable 130 run partnership for the sixth wicket. 

Wadkar reached his maiden ton of the season with a simple tap off Kotian’s bowling through the extra cover region for a single. He got to his knees and raised his arms and put them up in a prayer before sinking in the warm applause from the spectators and teammates. 

The celebrations were however cut short as Wadkar and Dubey fell in consecutive overs. Aditya Sarwate, who was struggling with back spasms came out to bat at Number 8, but Deshpande removed him for 3. Despande clocked 140 kph on a regular basis and continued to scare lower order batters with short pitched stuff. 

Kulkarni then picked up the last wicket and led Mumbai off the field. Rahane hailed Kulkarni’s on and off field contributions at the post match presentation and even gave him the trophy to sign off in grand style. 

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