Baroda v Rajasthan, Ranji Trophy final, Vadodara, 5th day January 15, 2011

We wanted this victory more - Kanitkar

Rajasthan were hungrier than Baroda for victory, and that was the reason they won the Ranji Trophy for the first time, according to their captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar. "We wanted this victory more," he said at the end of the game. "And we were willing to do whatever it took."

Rajasthan's self-belief was tested the most when they were reduced to 11 for 3 in their second innings, leading only by 44. They then slipped to 61 for 4, and another wicket could have meant a sub-200 target for Baroda. Rajasthan teams of the past have been prone to folding up. But Kanitkar said they were prepared to defend anything their batsmen gave them.

"Yes, Rajasthan have had a reputation for collapsing. The match was pretty open at 11 for 3," he said. "We thought that it could be possible that we might get a lead of only 150. But we decided even if that happened, we would defend it. At no point did we think that it had gone out of our hands."

Though Baroda's bowlers were in control, and the pressure of the final was immense, Kanitkar said keeping the belief as a team was the most crucial factor. "We knew we were capable, but it doesn't come off right always. Now maybe I can sit back and say that we knew it all and stuff like that, but that was not the case. But you have to keep the faith, and if you do that there is a chance that things will work out. Keeping the faith as an individual is one thing, but as a team is even more important."

Rajasthan needed some luck, and they got it when Ashok Menaria was dropped twice in successive overs. If either catch had been taken, the visitors would have been barely 100 runs in front with half the side gone. But Menaria survived, and along with Rashmi Parida, took the game away from Baroda. "You know, luck also favours those who try the hardest. And we knew that we were going to try the hardest. That made the difference."

It was Rajasthan's first Ranji final since 1974, but Kanitkar said that they tried to approach it like a normal game. "We respected the fact that it is a Ranji final, but I told the boys not to think about the opposition and the result. Just play how you have played throughout the season, I said, and I think we were able to do that. When things were needed of us, people delivered, it didn't matter who delivered, but someone did. In the first innings Robin Bist and I got a few runs. In the second innings, Menaria got a brilliant century. Rashmi Parida was just unbelievable throughout the game."

After overcoming heavyweights Mumbai and Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan had the momentum, and were expected to win the title against a young and inexperienced Baroda side. Kanitkar had intentionally played things down before the start of the game, so that no one got complacent. "It is easy to think that we were expected to win against Baroda. That's where the experience came into play. The three professionals - Aakash Chopra, Parida and I - kept a low profile and did not let the pressure of a Ranji final get to the guys." They succeeded and sealed their maiden title in their ninth appearance in the final.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ankit on January 17, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    I am happy that Rajasthan went on to win the championship specially after the ousted Mumbai and congratulations to the team for that.

    They have been the smartest to use the first innings lead rule to their advantage. Its not the best way to win but its not their fault that the rules are such

  • Dummy4 on January 16, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Did you ever imagine that Rajasthan will ever lift the Ranji Trophy? I certainly didn't! Even when the rookie Chahar took 8 for 10 to bundle Hyderabad for 21 runs. But the way they defeated Mumbai and Tamil Nadu, it meant they had a winning mantra in place... Has the time for smaller guys arrived?

  • Steve on January 15, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    Congrats to Rajasthan team for an outstanding win and the season. This is good for domestic cricket in India with non-favored teams winning big tournaments. Hope this win spurs some new talent.

  • Dummy4 on January 15, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    I wonder if Lalit Modi can take some credit for this victory?

  • Dummy4 on January 15, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Congrats to RAJASTHAN for winning their first ever RANJI TROPHY title. Hats Off to HRISHIKESH KANITKAR who at the age of 36 Captained RAJASTHAN and help them to win the prestigious trophy. I still remember KANITKAR hitting the winning boundary against PAKISTAN in the FINAL of the INDEPENDENCE cup in BANGLADESH. During the post-match presentation DADA said "THIS GUY HRISHI HAS GOT THE BRIGHT FUTURE". But unfortunately he was not able to perform at the INTERNATIONAL level. But at the Age of 36, he made himself proud!!!! CONGRATS RAJASHTAN and BEST OF LUCK for the future !!!

  • Soumya on January 15, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    It is an outstanding performance for Rajasthan but doesnt it also portray the poor standards of Indian cricket.To me there were 6 key architects of the victory 2 former internationals Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Akash Chopra who are past their prime and were never great cricketers, another veteran a domestic performer Rashmi Parida. Out of the rest Chabar and Menoria were playing their first season indomestic cricket and Chabar will definitely be a national prospect now thats the best thing coming out of the victory.Lastly was the revival of Pankaj Singh as a fast bowler he too has a chance of playing for the country. Looking at the highlights of the victorious team does it look to be a Ranji Champion side??From Rajasthan's perspective I repeat this has been a stellar performance

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