Ranji Trophy Final: Heavyweights Mumbai Take On Resilient Vidarbha In Huge Showdown

Ranji Trophy Final: Heavyweights Mumbai Take On Resilient Vidarbha In Huge Showdown

The hosts are looking for their 42nd title while resurgent Vidarbha aim to spoils hosts' party for third crown

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Saturday, March 09, 2024, 08:44 PM IST
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On reputation, it maybe a bit of a mismatch when 41-times champions Mumbai lock horns with two-time winners Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy final at the majestic Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

The summit clash makes for an exciting background with two sides from the same state competing for the glory, one aiming for its 42nd crown in its 48th final while the other hoping to clinch its third title in as many finals.

Vidarbha are no pushovers having won back-to-back Ranji Trophy championships in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons in what was a huge leap up for them having occupied the bottom rung for a fairly long time.

Mumbai's last Ranji Trophy triumph was in the 2015-16 season and since then they haven't been able to cross the line and pocket trophy number 42.

PRAKASHPARSEKAR

The Ajinkya Rahane-led side will surely be backing themselves this time around after what has been a very workmanlike campaign for them.

The sturdiness of the lower-order comprising Shardul Thakur, Tanush Kotian and Tushar Deshpande at Nos 9, 10 and 11 has ensured Mumbai has enough batting depth to cover for the recent failings of their top order.

The likes of skipper Ajinkya Rahane, opener Prithvi Shaw and India star Shreyas Iyer would be looking to be among the runs in the all-important final.

Mumbai's progress to the final saw them defeat Baroda on first innings lead with Musheer Khan's double hundred being the highlight of the match.

In the semifinal, up against an inspired Tamil Nadu outfit skippered by the imperious Sai Kishore they registered an innings and 70-run win with a maiden First Class hundred by Shardul Thakur.

The pacers comprising Shardul Thakur, Mohit Avasthi and Tushar Deshpande were in the thick of things as well scalping 10 wickets in the match while the spinners Musheer Khan, Shams Mulani and Tanush Kotian also bagged 10 wickets in the game to get the job done for Mumbai at the Bandra-Kurla Complex ground.

With the Wankhede pitch expected to have some grass and offer assistance to pacers in the first couple of days atleast, the likes of Thakur, Avasthi and Deshpande could come into play.

Vidarbha possessing the likes of Umesh Yadav, Yash Thakur and Aditya Thakare in their ranks neutralises the advantage that Mumbai may have as the visitors have enough in the tank to do some serious damage.

They would have to contend with the lower-order heft that Mumbai have in No 6 and thereafter.

Hardik Tamore, Shams Mulani along with Thakur, Kotian and Deshpande have enough firepower to dent the Vidarbha bowlers even if they get some quick wickets.

The team that handles the big-match pressure the best will eventually emerge victors in what is expected to be a classic Ranji Trophy final in the making.

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