Rajasthan v Mumbai, Ranji Trophy quarter-final, Jaipur, 2010-11 December 27, 2010

How David got the best of Goliath

It was a classic David v Goliath battle
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It was a classic David v Goliath battle. After all we, Rajasthan, had finished at the bottom of the table in the Plate division last year and Mumbai had won the coveted Ranji Trophy more times than anyone else. Yes, we did turn things around a bit this season but how far do these teams from Plate division go in the men's world? Not too far

That's exactly what Mumbai thought while taking us on in what was deemed to be an easy quarter-final en route to their eventual destination - a place in the finals and perhaps the trophy in their hands one more time. They certainly had enough ammunition to ensure a safe and easy passage. All their batsmen were in top form coming into the knock-outs and their bowlers were doing enough to keep them on track. We, on the other hand, had done everything right so far to earn that all important promotion to the Elite division. For most teams who make the cut, the journey beyond promotion is considered a bonus. What makes their progress even tougher is that they invariably play one of the finalists from last season, which in reality means the toughest match of the season.

We found ourselves in a similar situation and managed to keep the temptation of providing an under-prepared wicket for the match against the defending champions at bay. If you're up against much stronger opposition, it's advisable to leave a lot in the track to bridge the gap as the better team will rout lesser opposition on an even surface nine out of 10 times. Another reason for not going for an under-prepared track was that our strength lies in our batting and we wanted to back it to score whatever Mumbai would score. The second hurdle was the decision to bat or bowl first. While the track was dry and a good one to bat on day one, we would have opted to bowl first in order to extract anything the track had to offer. It goes without saying that we needed all the help we could get to stall such an experienced and talented batting line-up. But Mumbai captain Wasim Jaffer won the toss and made the decision for us by electing to bat first.

But what followed after that left everyone gobsmacked. Three things were consistent throughout the day: 1. The track played true and along expected lines; 2. We bowled with a lot of discipline and 3. Mumbai batsmen continued to play airy-fairy shots as if we were not competing but only participating in the contest. The Mumbai batting, which is known for its khadoos (never-say-die) attitude, was the last thing on show. What we witnessed was flamboyance bordering on carelessness and far too many shots in too short a time. Pankaj [Singh], [Deepak] Chahar, [Sumit] Mathur and [Vivek] Yadav did the basics right, pitched the ball in the right areas and the batsmen obliged.

The team which wasn't considered even a patch on their opposition was suddenly in the driver's seat and calling the shots. The batting line-up which bats right down to number nine was bowled out for a paltry total of 252 and now, all we needed to do was to bat sensibly and we did just that.

Everyone, at one point or the other, has been humiliated by Mumbai in their career. Such is the strength of the team that they invariably end up on the winning side rubbing more salt into old wounds. And that brings out the best in players to get the record straight, even if it's once in a while. And that's why every win against them feels a lot sweeter too. Well, it's not often that you have the champions on the mat and the moment is worth a lot more than just a result going your way.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dinesh on December 30, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    An underdog story is always fun...Go Rajasthan!! After following TN cricket for such a long time I can't possibly root for another team to beat TN - so I say to Rajasthan - my best wishes to play your best cricket but lose out by the smallest of margins! :)

    No Mumbai to beat - No better opportunity TN!!!

  • mahesh on December 29, 2010, 3:22 GMT

    i really dont know how many players foreign players (other state players) represented rajasthan team .Anyhow how kudos to them for beating mumbai after really missing twice recently.

  • pushpendra on December 29, 2010, 2:30 GMT

    weeketkeeper is the only weakness in this Rajasthan Team. WK Jhalani is consistantly failure with bat for last 2-3 years. He could be replaced with Nikhil Doru who is aa established batsman wirh more than 3000 run with 7 centuries in first class cricket.With that this team will be a perfect combination to win Ranji Trophy.

  • MANISH on December 29, 2010, 2:22 GMT

    Rajasthan looks to be a champion team now and may win the Ranji Trophy this year. This team has a weakness in weeket keeper who could not bat consistently. There is weeket keeper in waiting nikhil doru, who is a established batsman with more than 3000 run with 7 hundreds to his credit from 65 first class matches. He has recovered from the injury, should be given chance

  • Parthi on December 29, 2010, 2:14 GMT

    As a TN fan i would like to say thank u rajasthan for beating MUMBAI.As some one mentioned in the comment i too watch closely the round robin matches and just want to say that we are not lucky team, we are well deserved team to be in semis.Rain actually stopped our march,particularley in alloting the grounds..Watch out for Karthc and Badri...BOTH deserved to be in SA tour.

  • Ramesh gopal on December 28, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    Rajastan won against mumbai by nothing other than fluke.Rajastan's semi final match will prove that.

  • Krishna Devarath G on December 28, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    It's very nice that Mumbai were eliminated in the quarter finals by less faniced Rajasthan. Mumbai teams behaviour in last season's final against karnataka was their worst and no remorse for their elimination....Good rajasthan...keep it up

  • Anonymous on December 28, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    nice!

  • Hari Hara Sudhan K on December 28, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    TN has to play 7 batsmen and 4 bowlers(either Sam or Aushik).

    And SS Kumar needs to be included. Donno y he was excluded last match!!!

  • Sam on December 28, 2010, 8:54 GMT

    Great ! take a bow Guys...You have done so well in this session, Thanks a lot for this effort. Go n Play well in next against TN and stick to basics, You can make it to finals. All the very Best, Make the Rajasthani's feel more proud.

  • Dinesh on December 30, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    An underdog story is always fun...Go Rajasthan!! After following TN cricket for such a long time I can't possibly root for another team to beat TN - so I say to Rajasthan - my best wishes to play your best cricket but lose out by the smallest of margins! :)

    No Mumbai to beat - No better opportunity TN!!!

  • mahesh on December 29, 2010, 3:22 GMT

    i really dont know how many players foreign players (other state players) represented rajasthan team .Anyhow how kudos to them for beating mumbai after really missing twice recently.

  • pushpendra on December 29, 2010, 2:30 GMT

    weeketkeeper is the only weakness in this Rajasthan Team. WK Jhalani is consistantly failure with bat for last 2-3 years. He could be replaced with Nikhil Doru who is aa established batsman wirh more than 3000 run with 7 centuries in first class cricket.With that this team will be a perfect combination to win Ranji Trophy.

  • MANISH on December 29, 2010, 2:22 GMT

    Rajasthan looks to be a champion team now and may win the Ranji Trophy this year. This team has a weakness in weeket keeper who could not bat consistently. There is weeket keeper in waiting nikhil doru, who is a established batsman with more than 3000 run with 7 hundreds to his credit from 65 first class matches. He has recovered from the injury, should be given chance

  • Parthi on December 29, 2010, 2:14 GMT

    As a TN fan i would like to say thank u rajasthan for beating MUMBAI.As some one mentioned in the comment i too watch closely the round robin matches and just want to say that we are not lucky team, we are well deserved team to be in semis.Rain actually stopped our march,particularley in alloting the grounds..Watch out for Karthc and Badri...BOTH deserved to be in SA tour.

  • Ramesh gopal on December 28, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    Rajastan won against mumbai by nothing other than fluke.Rajastan's semi final match will prove that.

  • Krishna Devarath G on December 28, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    It's very nice that Mumbai were eliminated in the quarter finals by less faniced Rajasthan. Mumbai teams behaviour in last season's final against karnataka was their worst and no remorse for their elimination....Good rajasthan...keep it up

  • Anonymous on December 28, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    nice!

  • Hari Hara Sudhan K on December 28, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    TN has to play 7 batsmen and 4 bowlers(either Sam or Aushik).

    And SS Kumar needs to be included. Donno y he was excluded last match!!!

  • Sam on December 28, 2010, 8:54 GMT

    Great ! take a bow Guys...You have done so well in this session, Thanks a lot for this effort. Go n Play well in next against TN and stick to basics, You can make it to finals. All the very Best, Make the Rajasthani's feel more proud.

  • Samgen on December 28, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    Congratulations Rajasthan. You folks deserved to win. Mumbai team, high time you folks pay attention to your attitude. Your behavior on several occasions has not been what is expected of a champion team. Hope this defeat helps you to improve your attitude.

  • Kanha on December 28, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    this is the amaging performance by rajasthani boys since I learnt about cricket..... i think from last 20 years this is the best from great sons of (dharti dhora ri)... be carefull because next opponent is the Badri's boys and also called super kings in ipl....... akash sir you were right when you told about deepak chahar after his first game..... thanks for your contibution ........

  • mohammed bubere on December 28, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Rajasthan has showed that no matter how tough the opposition can be but a display of discipline and hard work can overcome any opposition...Mumbai missed the services of dhaval,usman malvi.

  • Vipul on December 28, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    Congratulations Akash!

  • Sourya Bose on December 28, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    Well done Rajasthan, really happy for you guys. I guess Aakash laid the foundation in the earlier match with a marathon 300!! This young lad Pankaj Singh has a lot to offer to Indian Cricket. Hope he gets an opportunity in the tour of WI & England in the second half of '11. For the moment, folks there is a match to be won against TN, mind you Badri would be the big fish. Good Luck!!

  • Sampath on December 28, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Dear Akash

    Kudos to your efforts in taking Rajastan to a higher platform. Keeping Bombay out of Ranji is herculean and you have just achieved.

    Your writing has been so mature and inspiring. All the best to you - Sampath

  • sandy on December 27, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    i wish to see rajastan and KARNATAKA in the final..

  • Punit Bhandari on December 27, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    Great job Team Rajasthan....being a rajasthani i coudn't have asked for better than this.....more importantly the contribution from the local guys was completely on par with the professional ones..........go great gun beat TN & believe me i am getting an intution of holding the Ranji this time..............go go go go go go....all the best

  • Amrit on December 27, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    Hi Aakash Sir This is Amrit Pradhan from Kolkata.All the best to Rajasthan and You ofcourse. Hope your team goes through to the Semi-Finals and make it to the the Finals.Hope you score....another double ton!All The best bhaiya!!!!!!!!!

  • Geet on December 27, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    Brilliantly written and played aakash...It feels awesome to see rajasthan rise from the ashes....no one gave us an iota of chance at the beginning of the season and look where are we now...DO i see an Underdog encore??...Rajasthan Royals in IPL I is still fresh in the memory!!

  • venkatesh on December 27, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    Rajasthan's next match is against tamil nadu. For the rarest of times this season, tamil nadu will hope to play a match in which weather does not have an influence in its outcome. Rajasthan should have played more cricket this season because of this and they also have the home advantage which means they hold the upper hand. That being said, tamil nadu will have followed this match closely and will definitely chalk out a plan to outdo pankaj and chahar. Overall an interesting contest on the cards!

  • ashik on December 27, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    I've become a big fan of Rajasthan this season and keenly following all their matches. What more you can ask? A berth in the semis. Kudos to you guys. Fast bowlers hunt in pair and Pankaj was ably supported by rookie, Chahar. Earlier that was not the case. Bowlers win matches and here we have 2 quality bowlers, the best this season thus far. I won't be surprised if they go all the way to lift the trophy. All the best. Pankaj might just get a call before India travels to England after the WC next year. Last but not the least, the batsman also deserve their credit.

  • Gautam on December 27, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    Spot On Aakash.. Mumbai is what Australia was at the intl level few years ago sweeping every possible trophy... A win against them is priceless esp considering the fact that no one gave you folks a chance.. Go Rajasthan - Beat TN and let us have a new champion this time - Karnataka or Rajasthan.

  • Anonymous on December 27, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    great win. This is an eye opener for the BCCCI as it clearly suggests that the two tier format system is a farce and out dated.This two tier format would have been very much justified in the seventies & eighties the gap between the strong sides & the weak sides were huge.

  • Saurabh on December 27, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Great Akash Bhai GO ALL THE WAY. BEST OF LUCK and send Robin at No. 3 or 5.

  • prashant on December 27, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    How fair is the victory coming on the efforts of "professionals" and not many regional cricketers? not to spoil the party...It was a well deserved victory!

  • Ashok on December 27, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    Many 'Likes'!

    Really like the new format where the plate finalist gets into the quarter finals. Pankaj and Chahar did not have to wait a whole year to show that they can play with the big boys. I think Mumbai missed Muzumdar and Samant this year and were rightly tossed out.

  • AR Chakravarthy on December 27, 2010, 15:02 GMT

    Hey Aakash,

    Well done to you and the lads, keep it going please.

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  • AR Chakravarthy on December 27, 2010, 15:02 GMT

    Hey Aakash,

    Well done to you and the lads, keep it going please.

  • Ashok on December 27, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    Many 'Likes'!

    Really like the new format where the plate finalist gets into the quarter finals. Pankaj and Chahar did not have to wait a whole year to show that they can play with the big boys. I think Mumbai missed Muzumdar and Samant this year and were rightly tossed out.

  • prashant on December 27, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    How fair is the victory coming on the efforts of "professionals" and not many regional cricketers? not to spoil the party...It was a well deserved victory!

  • Saurabh on December 27, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Great Akash Bhai GO ALL THE WAY. BEST OF LUCK and send Robin at No. 3 or 5.

  • Anonymous on December 27, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    great win. This is an eye opener for the BCCCI as it clearly suggests that the two tier format system is a farce and out dated.This two tier format would have been very much justified in the seventies & eighties the gap between the strong sides & the weak sides were huge.

  • Gautam on December 27, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    Spot On Aakash.. Mumbai is what Australia was at the intl level few years ago sweeping every possible trophy... A win against them is priceless esp considering the fact that no one gave you folks a chance.. Go Rajasthan - Beat TN and let us have a new champion this time - Karnataka or Rajasthan.

  • ashik on December 27, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    I've become a big fan of Rajasthan this season and keenly following all their matches. What more you can ask? A berth in the semis. Kudos to you guys. Fast bowlers hunt in pair and Pankaj was ably supported by rookie, Chahar. Earlier that was not the case. Bowlers win matches and here we have 2 quality bowlers, the best this season thus far. I won't be surprised if they go all the way to lift the trophy. All the best. Pankaj might just get a call before India travels to England after the WC next year. Last but not the least, the batsman also deserve their credit.

  • venkatesh on December 27, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    Rajasthan's next match is against tamil nadu. For the rarest of times this season, tamil nadu will hope to play a match in which weather does not have an influence in its outcome. Rajasthan should have played more cricket this season because of this and they also have the home advantage which means they hold the upper hand. That being said, tamil nadu will have followed this match closely and will definitely chalk out a plan to outdo pankaj and chahar. Overall an interesting contest on the cards!

  • Geet on December 27, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    Brilliantly written and played aakash...It feels awesome to see rajasthan rise from the ashes....no one gave us an iota of chance at the beginning of the season and look where are we now...DO i see an Underdog encore??...Rajasthan Royals in IPL I is still fresh in the memory!!

  • Amrit on December 27, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    Hi Aakash Sir This is Amrit Pradhan from Kolkata.All the best to Rajasthan and You ofcourse. Hope your team goes through to the Semi-Finals and make it to the the Finals.Hope you score....another double ton!All The best bhaiya!!!!!!!!!