FPJ Exclusive: How Ajinkya Rahane's Mumbai Plotted Vidarbha's Downfall In Ranji Trophy Final To Clinch Record-Extending 42nd Title

FPJ Exclusive: How Ajinkya Rahane's Mumbai Plotted Vidarbha's Downfall In Ranji Trophy Final To Clinch Record-Extending 42nd Title

The victory is Mumbai's first since their triumph in the 2015-2016 season and has been in the works for eight years in the making but finally coming to fruition under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane and the coaching prowess of a very able Omkar Salvi.

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Thursday, March 14, 2024, 07:02 PM IST
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Mumbai showed why they are the powerhouse of Indian cricket with a hard-fought 169-run win against Vidarbha that saw them clinching their 42nd Ranji Trophy championship title, at the Wankhede Stadium, here on Thursday.

The Ajinkya Rahane-led side were stretched by a supremely focused and resilient Vidarbha outfit, who at one stage threatened to derail Mumbai's grand plans and mount the highest successful run-chase in Ranji history through their skipper Akshay Wadkar, who slammed a hundred for the ages, and the left-handed Harsh Dubey.

The victory is Mumbai's first since their triumph in the 2015-2016 season and has been in the works for eight years in the making but finally coming to fruition under the captaincy of Rahane and the coaching prowess of a very able Omkar Salvi.

Vidarbha's fightback delays the inevitable

Vidarbha, who resumed at their overnight score of 248/5, were stubborn and resolute in their approach with skipper Wadkar and Dubey wearing down the Mumbai bowling attack in the first session.

They milked the likes of Tanush Kotian and Musheer Khan to accumulate 85 runs in the session without giving an inch to Mumbai reaching lunch at 333/5.

Wadkar was solid throughout the first session and negotiated the Mumbai spinners with ease as he closed on on his ninth First Class hundred.

The ton came in the post-lunch session as he brought it up in 195 balls with nine fours and a six.

Staying at the wicket for 301 minutes was a testament to the composure shown by the Vidarbha captain bringing his best to the fore in the all-important final.

Mumbai seemed to try all available options but probably missed a trick in not bringing Tushar Deshpande into the attack.

Once Deshpande started his short-ball treatment to Wadkar and Dubey, Tanush Kotian would make the batsmen think from the other end.

Tanush Kotian, Tushar Deshpande star on final day

And Kotian was the breakthrough man for Mumbai on the D-Day as he trapped Wadkar in front much to the roar of the fans in the stands.

Wadkar was the door Mumbai banged hard to open and once it did, the wickets tumbled in a jiffy.

Dubey fell the next over to a short ball from Deshpande holing a catch to Shams Mulani at short backward point as Mumbai closed in.

From 353/5, Vidarbha lost five wickets for 15 runs in 30 minutes to be bowled out for 368 in 134.3 overs.

Dhawal Kulkarni was handed the ball by Rahane in his farewell match for Mumbai and he made no mistake castling Umesh Yadav as celebrations erupted on the ground from the players and the fans in the stands.

All-round Musheer Khan adjudged POTM award

Musheer Khan, who slammed a superlative hundred in the second innings, was declared the player of the match while Tanush Kotian bagged the player-of-the-series award for his all-round performance with bat and ball.

Kotian had slammed a fantastic hundred in the company of Tushar Deshpande in the quarterfinal against Baroda and was prolific with the wickets as well taking 29 wickets in 10 matches this season.

Vidarbha were not lucky enough to get home in their Ranji Trophy final but received applause from the Wankhede crowd for their large-hearted performance against Mumbai.

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