Saurashtra’s inept display against the moving and lifting ball saw it capitulate in the post-tea session on the third day of the Ranji Trophy final as Mumbai won its 40th National title here on Monday. It was by far the most convincing victory — by an innings and 125 runs — for the home team which has been involved in 44 finals.
Mumbai pressed for victory once it removed Saurashtra’s plucky Sitanshu Kotak off the third ball of the second innings a few minutes before lunch. The left-hander nicked Ajit Agarkar to wicketkeeper Aditya Tare, who dived to his right to take the catch. There have been many instances of Kotak pulling Saurashtra out of the woods and his team had looked up to him to show the way today.
But, in a matter of time the Saurashtra batsmen, all raised on flat featherbeds, found it difficult to handle Agarkar and Dhawal Kulkarni who were sharp and accurate.
Kotak, Sagar Jogiyani and Aarpit Vasavada departed without a run against their names. Vasavada, who impressed in the first innings with a gritty half-century, paid the price for an error of judgment as he offered his pads to Agarkar and was adjudged leg-before.
Rahul Dave, a newcomer to first-class cricket, was a bundle of nerves as he spent 24 minutes and faced 20 balls before Kulkarni squared him up and made him push hard at a delivery that had extra bounce and was caught by Ankeet Chavan at fourth slip.
Skipper Jaydev Shah was bowled neck and crop and Sheldon Jackson made the folly of playing from the crease as the ball beat his bat to knock back the stumps.
At 20 for six after 13.3 overs, Saurashtra was also close to its lowest Ranji score — 25 against Bombay in the 1960-61 season.
Kamlesh Makvana who batted for almost an hour and faced 37 balls and Saurya Sanandiya (61m, 38 balls) helped Saurashtra cross the 50-run mark, but the strikes by part-time seamer Abhishek Nayar and Kulkarni (five for 32) in his second spell completed Saurashtra’s rout.
Wicketkeeper Tare claimed his 41st victim to share the Ranji record for a season with Punjab’s Uday Kaul.
The third day’s play began with Mumbai adding 68 runs to its overnight 287 for six to give it a lead of 207.
Saurashtra — 1st innings: 148.
Mumbai — 1st innings: W. Jaffer lbw b Jadeja 132, K. Pawar c & b Trivedi 21, A. Tare c Vasavada b Sanandiya 3, S. Tendulkar (run out) 22, A. Nayar c Unadkat b Makvana 26, H. Shah c Jogiyani b Sanandiya 55, A. Agarkar lbw b Jadeja 2, D. Kulkarni c Kotak b Trivedi 18, A. Chavan c & b Makvana 41, S. Thakur c & b Makvana 10, V. Dabholkar (not out) 0; Extras (lb-10, w-2, nb-13): 25; Total (in 119 overs): 355.
Fall of wickets: 1-75, 2-89, 3-157, 4-209, 5-233, 6-237, 7-288, 8-329, 9-344.
Saurashtra bowling: Unadkat 32-3-73-0, Trivedi 25-7-54-2, Sanandiya 27-9-73-2, Jadeja 19-0-96-2, Makvana 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. Makvana c 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 (b-1, w-1, nb-6): 8; Total (in 36.3 overs): 82.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-5, 3-5, 4-11, 5-11, 6-20, 7-34, 8-53, 9-82.
Mumbai bowling: Agarkar 9-5-15-4, Kulkarni 14.3-7-32-5, Thakur 8-2-29-0, Nayar 3-0-3-1, Chavan 2-1-2-0.
Man-of-the-match: W. Jaffer.