Maharashtra triumph in thrilling finale
Maharashtra 501 (Jadhav 251) and 202 beat Madhya Pradesh 370 and 293 (Ojha 70, Pitre 57, Dholpure 56) by 40 runs
Despite Madhya Pradesh's valiant attempt to chase 334 on the final day, Maharashtra scraped through by 40 runs in the thrilling Plate Group final in Pune. Shantanu Pitre's heroics, including four sixes, took Madhya Pradesh to 283 for 7 allowed them to entertain hopes of a fantastic win. But his dismissal in the fifth mandatory over dashed their hopes, and Maharashtra sealed it soon after.
Madhya Pradesh's fightback came after being dominated for almost four days. Maharashtra piled on a massive 501 in their first innings with Dheeraj Jadhav, whose marathon 251 built over more than 12 hours, playing the lead. Madhya Pradesh could manage only 370 in their first innings, with Devendra Bundela top-scoring with a patient 83. Iqbal Siddiqui, the former Indian medium-pacer, was the most successful bowler with 5 for 101.
And in the second innings, Maharashtra were cruising along at 111 for no loss and were all but assured of the title. But Yogesh Golwalkar, the legspinner, grabbed 5 for 73 and spun them out for just 202.
That gave Madhya Pradesh an outside chance. On the final day, Naman Ojha and Sachin Dholpure got them off to a flier, before Pitre, the wicketkeeper, swung his bat effectively. In the end, they fell just 40 runs short.
Both teams, though, will play in the Elite Group next year. Rajasthan and Kerala, who were relegated earlier, will take their places in the Plate Group.