Mumbai v Saurashtra, Ranji Trophy, final, 3rd day January 28, 2013

Mumbai boss their way to No. 40


Mumbai 355 (Jaffer 132, H Shah 55) beat Saurashtra 148 (Vasavada 55, Kulkarni 4-24) and 82 (Kulkarni 5-32, Agarkar 4-15) by an innings and 125 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Before the Ranji Trophy final, the Mumbai captain Ajit Agarkar had talked about his side not having put together the perfect match this season. True to their reputation of being at their best when it matters, Mumbai delivered that perfect match on the biggest domestic stage to reclaim their familiar position as Ranji champions.

Agarkar and Dhawal Kulkarni were so devastating with the new ball that at one stage Saurashtra, who have built up a reputation for scoring big, were in so precarious a position that journalists scrambled to find the lowest totals in first-class history. They avoided those levels of ignominy but were still rolled over for a measly 82, handing Mumbai a handsome innings and 125-run victory.

Saurashtra had their best chance of a fightback when they had Mumbai six down on the second evening and only 89 ahead. They let that lead swell to 139 yesterday, and on third morning Hiken Shah strengthened Mumbai further with more than two hours of resistance.

Saurashtra needed a solid start if they were to pose any challenge, but their innings unravelled with unseemly haste. There was a poignant moment in the first over as Shitanshu Kotak, who waited two decades to play in a Ranji final, was caught-behind for a duck in what could be his final first-class game. He dejectedly walked past the trophy, which had been brought out and displayed on the boundary's edge, on his way to the dressing-room.

The other opener, Sagar Jogiyani, has also had a game to forget. He had fallen for 1 on the first day, muffed a chance to run out Wasim Jaffer on the second and rounded off the game with a duck on the third.

Agarkar and Kulkarni were getting the ball to move both ways, and maintained a tight line and length, but Saurashtra's batsmen looked so out of their depth that the persistent doubts over their ability to score outside the benign surfaces of Rajkot will not be swept away any time soon. Saurashtra coach Debu Mitra admitted after the match that his batsmen needed to spend more time on seaming tracks, and that they didn't have enough experience of difficult batting conditions.

They fished at far too many deliveries that should have been left alone. Mumbai operated with four slips and two gullies for much of the first hour, and the catches duly arrived.

There was bounce as well for the new-ball bowlers, and it was one of those lifting deliveries that removed Rahul Dave, hit high on the bat as he edged to the cordon. Aarpit Vasavada, who provided much of Saurashtra's resistance in the first innings, got a rough lbw decision after being struck outside off. Jaydev Shah avoided a pair but was bowled through the gate for 6.

Agarkar had high praise for Kulkarni's bowling. "They probably don't have the depth of batting that we do," he said. "Little bit surprised (at how easy the victory was), Dhawal bowled exceptionally well, he could have had eight wickets if luck was on his side."

At 11 for 5, the game was effectively over. Never have Saurashtra missed Cheteshwar Pujara as badly as they did in this match. They may have been outclassed in the final but, still, that won't take the shine off Saurashtra's best season in nearly seven decades.

For Mumbai, another title is only a return to business as usual after missing out in the previous two seasons. If the 40th trophy wasn't enough to show their domestic dominance, it comes in a season when they have won the Under-25 and U-16 titles too, and are battling it out in the final of the U-19.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rakesh on January 30, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    @ fod-c8w - people like vish are frogs of the well. They think TN is the world and their mediocre players champions. Show in their performance. If not for N Srinivasan none of the TN players would make it to India team.

  • Amit on January 29, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    If the rules called for Mumbai, then why in the world Nitin Desai had to 'request' BCCI to schedule the Finals at Wankehde? Home and away rules are for the league stage only anywhere you go. Once the tournament reaches the knockout stage, it is always the team with the better record gets to play at home when neutral venues are not used. Nohit Sharma and Jadeja were in the playing eleven and no problem with them not being released; however, Pujara and Rahne should have been release instead of warming the bench in a inconsequential game. Reluctance not to release Pujara with the kind of form he is in smells rats.

  • Vivek on January 29, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    @ Rumy1 on (January 29 2013, 11:29 AM GMT) : Don't compare Jaffer with Rahane & Mukund.. They are just 22-23 yrs and have impressed a lot now only.

    Jaffer is like how Badrinath is for chennai- always the unsung hero, and affected by DLTG (dravid laxman Tend ganguly) era which lasted 10 years. But he is too old to be brought into test team now. I agree that Gambir shd be thrown out. We need a young left hander to replace him in ODI & Tests. Yuvi must also be thrown back to domestic, even though he is picking up wickets here and there. his selection was more for emotional & out of compulsion. Ashwin must also be dropped for a series or two, to make him come back stronger. and we MUST stop picking piyush chawla again and again..

  • Munawar on January 29, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Congrats Mumbai!! On present form,Jaffer is certainly a better bet than both Sehwag and Gambhi- by miles. One poor series in Australia, and he was dropped forever. If one bad series is a reason to be dropped forever,then how about Gambhir? He has failed consistently with dismal averages over the last three years. If you look at Mukund, Gambhir, Rahane and Vijay they look bonnies in front of Jaffer given his far superior temperament, skills, technique, range of shots, composure, style, experience and record.Ganguly is right when he says Jaffer is one of the two best openers in the country today. And Jaffer is only 35 which means he has 3/4 years left to contribute to Indian cricket. Hope likes of Sandeep Patil, Saba Karim, Vikram Rathore, RS Hans and Roger Binny are listening and are willing to undo gross injustices done to Jaffer over such a long period of time. Come on selectors..think about the country and give Jaffer his due. Hope Sunny, Shastri, Ganguly and Sachin help.

  • jayaesh on January 29, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    First of all congratulations to Mumbai on the Ranji Trophy final win !! i am not a Mumbai fan more of a Karnataka or Delhi fan but Mumbai showed pedigree by winning the title and also u-25, u-16 and in u-19 they are still in contention, but i fully agree with @balajeev,I went through all the squad lists and came to the conclusion that some of the better players were all busy playing u-25 CK Nayudu and u-19 Vinoo Mankad trophy, i find veterans such as Aakash Chopra,Mazumdar Bahutele,SS Dass,Badani still playing ?? really i am Sure with a 1.2 billion population and u-19 WC champions, there must be better youger players out there.There is a lot of talk regarding pitches,outright results,sheduling which is all fine but what about squad selection,there are one too many guest players past there prime and certain journeyman players who seem favorite of state associations.These states need to decide weather long term planning and success is more important or having nepotism in selection.

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    We need to see consistancy from Jaffer,,, does he possess ability to face bowlers on all pitches??Against what teams he achieved this record,,,,Does Agarkar can fill void of Zaheer?? See what happened to Rahane,,,,failed in many matches. No doubt viru and gambhir are out of form and can not be considered for future matches,,,,Does BCCI has concrete plans to produce world class players??? Answer is no for these questions

  • Binu on January 29, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    They should have release Pujara,Jadeja,Rohith & Rahane for the finals and for the replacement for thelast ODI should have been Raydu(Pujara),Jalaj Saxena( Raveendra Jadeja),Stuart Binny(Ajinkhya RAhane),Uthappa (Rohith)...

  • Rajan on January 29, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Hats off to Mumbai!!! They have the self-confidence to overcome any obstacles. I thought they will lose against Services but Ajit Agarkar made sure that did not happen. When they were playing the round robin matches they were no way near their mark for knockout qualification and once they are qualified they are a different team. I want other teams also learn from their capabilities to make Ranji Trophy really interesting.

  • Pradeep on January 29, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    ""W Jaffer" Can he open the ininings against Australia in the upcoming test series ? i think he should!

  • Brian on January 29, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    @Wolf and @Bulty Your hatred/jealousy towards Mumbai can be gauged from the fact that you feel Pujara and Jadeja were deliberately kept out of the game. Then what about Sharma and Rahane. Btw do u have any proof about the under the table deals which happened between Dhoni, BCCI and MCA. The 2nd argument is about the venue. Here your poor cricketing knowledge is reflected when you say Wankhede was wrongly chosen. FYI every team plays at alternately home and away depending on their last game. Mumbai played semifinal away while saurashtra played at home against Punjab and thats why the final was played in Mumbai. Once in Mumbai its MCA's prerogative which stadium to use. the 3rd argument is SRT requested to change the semi final venue. We all know what happened there. A 3 hour shower was enough to keep the ground wet for 3 days. Not to mentioned people easily could barge in to the ground which can cause serious injuries to national icons like SRT. So before you post anything, Read.