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VOL.32 :: NO.04 :: Jan. 24, 2009

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CRICKET / RANJI TROPHY FINAL

Mumbai’s spirit to the fore

Facing an improbable target of 525 to win on the final day, Uttar Pradesh had only one option: to salvage a draw. But in the face of Mumbai’s tight bowling, UP crashed to a big defeat. V. V. Subrahmanyam reports.

PTI

Rohit Sharma... century in each innings.

Coach Pravin Amre had to make perhaps the toughest call of his three-year stint with the Mumbai Ranji Trophy squad. He had to drop Amol Muzumdar, who was on the threshold of becoming the highest run-getter in the National Championship, for the final. That he did so goes to show how Mumbai was determined to achieve its goal.

For Mumbai individual records didn’t seem to matter; but they didn’t mind if records came by in the process of a winning performance. This spirit of Mumbai was truly reflected in the manner in which it drubbed Uttar Pradesh by 243 runs in the final at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad to lift the trophy for the 38th time in 75 editions.

No doubt Mumbai entered the final riding on the brilliance of Wasim Jaffer (301) and Sachin Tendulkar (122 retired hurt). But that the team thrives on collective effort was best illustrated by the fact that it won the final despite Sachin scoring a duck — his maiden duck in domestic cricket — in the first innings and only four runs in the second.

K. RAMESH BABU

Zaheer Khan… a superb spell in the first innings.

After UP’s pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had a superb opening spell of 12-7-23-3, reduced Mumbai to 55 for four in the first innings, Abhishek Nayar (99) and Rohit Sharma strung together a face-saving, double century partnership to pull Mumbai out of the woods.

Incidentally, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 18, capped an impressive season, scoring a fighting 80 on the final day to take his aggregate to 407. He also had a tally of 31 wickets this season.

In Mumbai’s second innings, it was the turn of the 36-year-old opener, Vinayak Samant, to come up with his maiden first-class century in his 85th match. It was a memorable final for the Mumbai player as he also completed 300 victims behind the stumps.

The elegant Rohit Sharma perfectly complemented Samant with his now-famous wristy strokeplay. The lazy elegance and the ease with which he played made the UP bowlers look very ordinary. By scoring 141 & 108, Rohit joined the elite band of cricketers — Hanumant Singh, Surinder Khanna, Vijay Hazare, Mushtaq Ali and Sachin Tendulkar — who have scored a century in each innings of a Ranji final.

K. RAMESH BABU

Abhishek Nayar was a victim of the nervous nineties.

Much to the delight of the Mumbai captain, Wasim Jaffer, Zaheer Khan returned his best-ever Ranji Trophy figures of seven for 54. The Indian medium-pacer dished out an object lesson in the art of reverse swing just when Mumbai seemed to find the going tough with the UP opener, Shivkant Shukla, the hero in the semifinals, holding one end up. Once Zaheer trapped him with an express delivery that swung back late, UP’s resistance fell.

Zaheer then ran through UP’s lower-order in the space of five overs to help Mumbai grab the vital first innings lead.

There were serious doubts if Mumbai was really keen on going for an outright win as it batted the whole of the fourth day before being bowled out off the last ball of the day. Mumbai eventually set UP an improbable target of 525 runs on the final day.

K. RAMESH BABU

Vinayak Samant scored his maiden first-class century and completed 300 victims behind the stumps in the Ranji trophy final.

Strangely, for the second time in the match, Praveen Kumar bowled his heart out but without great success. R. P. Singh, who suffered a shoulder injury, did not come out to bowl on the fourth day. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla was good only in patches.

For Uttar Pradesh there was only one option — to salvage a draw on the final day. But, that was not to be as Mumbai’s most consistent fast bowler of the season, Dhaval Kulkarni, returned with a five-wicket haul to help his side win the match comprehensively. Bowling an impeccable line and length and slanting the ball away from the batsmen, Kulkarni capped a wonderful season to emerge as the joint highest wicket-taker with 42 scalps.

FACTS: COMPILED BY MOHANDAS MENON

Rohit Sharma later revealed that the UP captain, Mohd. Kaif, had jokingly asked him to host a dinner for the two dropped catches that benefited the Mumbai batsman. Kaif had dropped Rohit when he was on 16 and 39 in the first innings.

“That was the turning point of the game for us. And after that, it was Zaheer’s single-handed effort with the ball which ensured that we got the vital lead,” acknowledged Wasim Jaffer.


At the end of the final, Sachin Tendulkar said that his team dedicated the magnificent victory to the victims of terrorist attacks in Mumbai. “This is a very special one. We have a terrific record in Ranji Trophy and I must say that it was largely possible because of team effort,” he remarked.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of debatable umpiring decisions that marred the final.


The leg-before decision against Ajinkya Rahane and the caught-behind against Mohd Kaif were debatable.


Curator Y. L. Chandrasekhar had done a good job to ensure the pitch played true on all five days. His efforts drew appreciation from both teams.

THE SCORES

Ranji Trophy final: Mumbai v Uttar Pradesh, Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad, January 12-16, 2009.

Result: Mumbai won by 243 runs.

Mumbai — 1st innings: V. R. Samant lbw b B. Kumar 26, W. Jaffer lbw b B. Kumar 1, A. Rahane lbw b R. P. Singh 23, S. Tendulkar c Shukla b B. Kumar 0, R. Sharma c Parvinder b P. Gupta 141, A. Nayar lbw b B. Kumar 99, S. Bahutule c M. A. Khan b B. Kumar 0, A. Agarkar c & b R. P. Singh 47, R. Powar c Chawla b P. Gupta 0, Z. Khan c Parvinder b R. P. Singh 33, D. Kulkarni (not out) 11. Extras: (b-8, lb-6, nb-5, w-2) 21. Total: 402.

Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-42, 3-55, 4-55, 5-262, 6-262, 7-344, 8-344, 9-358.

Uttar Pradesh bowling: Praveen Kumar 33-7-85-0, Bhuvneshwar 31-10-78-5, R. P. Singh 27-3-100-3, Parvinder 8-2-29-0, Chawla 15-2-57-0, Praveen Gupta 15-6-29-2, Raina 2-0-10-0.

Uttar Pradesh — 1st innings: T. Srivastava c Samant b Z. Khan 6, S. Shukla lbw b Z. Khan 99, S. Raina (run out) 0, Mohd Kaif c Samant b Z. Khan 33, P. Singh c Samant b A. Nayar 22, B. Kumar c (sub) Kukreja b A. Agarkar 41, P. Chawla c Kulkarni b Z. Khan 18, P. Kumar c Samant b Z. Khan 6, Md. Amir Khan c Samant b Z. Khan 0, R. P. Singh (not out) 4, P. Gupta c Powar b Z. Khan 0. Extras: (lb-3, nb-12, w-1) 16. Total: 245.

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-6, 3-91, 4-146, 5-214, 6-218, 7-239, 8-239, 9-245.

Mumbai bowling: Zaheer 27.2-14-54-7, Kulkarni 19-5-56-0, Agarkar 17-5-54-1, Powar 11-3-19-0, Nayar 13-4-28-1, Bahutule 13-3-31-0.

Mumbai — 2nd innings: V. Samant c M. A. Khan b P. Singh 113, W. Jaffer lbw b B. Kumar 85, A. Rahane c (sub) R. Shukla b P. Kumar 5, A. Nayar lbw P. Chawla 3, R. Sharma c (sub) R. Shukla b P. Singh 108, R. Powar c & b P. Chawla 0, S. Tendulkar c sub (A. Yadav) b P. Chawla 4, A. Agarkar c P. Singh b P. Gupta 13, S. Bahutule (not out) 9, Z. Khan b P. Singh 0, D. Kulkarni c P. Singh b P. Chawla 15. Extras: (b-4, lb-4, nb-3, w-1) 12.Total: 367.

Fall of wickets: 1-146, 2-167, 3-192, 4-228, 5-229, 6-241, 7-296, 8-347, 9-347.

Uttar Pradesh bowling: Praveen Kumar 30-8-77-1, Bhuvneshwar 28-5-77-1, R. P. Singh 4-0-16-0, Chawla 35-10-94-4, Praveen Gupta 11-2-45-1, Parvinder Singh 17-5-46-3, Raina 2-0-4-0.

Uttar Pradesh — 2nd innings: S. Shukla c Rohit b Kulkarni 11, T. Srivastava b Z. Khan 7, S. Raina c Sachin b Kulkarni 10, Md. Kaif c (sub) Muzumdar b R. Powar 72, P. Singh c Samant b A. Agarkar 1, B. Kumar c Samant b Kulkarni 80, P. Chawla c Jaffer b R. Powar 3, P. Kumar c Nayar b R. Powar 0, A. Khan (not out) 43, R. P. Singh c Jaffer b Kulkarni 4, P. Gupta c (sub) Kukreja b Kulkarni 25. Extras: (b-6, lb-4, nb-10, penalty-5) 25.Total: 281.

Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-21, 3-53, 4-58, 5-170, 6-193, 7-193, 8-218, 9-226.

Mumbai bowling: Zaheer 10-1-42-1, Kulkarni 18.4-1-77-5, Agarkar 10-2-41-1, Nayar 13-6-29-0, Powar 19-3-74-3, Sachin 1-0-3-0.



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