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RESULT
Final, Wankhede, March 10 - 14, 2024, Ranji Trophy
PrevNext
224 & 418
(T:538) 105 & 368

Mumbai won by 169 runs

Player Of The Match
136 & 2/48
musheer-khan
Player Of The Series
502 runs • 29 wkts
tanush-kotian
Report

Nair, Wadkar fifties stretch Vidarbha's fight into last day against Mumbai's spinners

Although Nair fell for 74 in the last session of the day, Wadkar stayed unbeaten on 56

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
13-Mar-2024
Akshay Wadkar and Karun Nair stretched Vidarbha's fight, Mumbai vs Vidarbha, Ranji Trophy final, 4th day, Mumbai, March 13, 2024

Akshay Wadkar and Karun Nair stretched Vidarbha's fight  •  PTI

Vidarbha 105 and 248 for 5 (Nair 74, Wadkar 56*, Musheer 2-38, Kotian 2-56) need another 290 runs to beat Mumbai 224 and 418
Mumbai remained favourites to lift their 42nd Ranji Trophy title, but Vidarbha's batters resisted on a slow-moving fourth day. Karun Nair and Vidarbha captain Akshay Wadkar were the two main obstructions that delayed Mumbai's push for a win, although Nair's dismissal late in the day for 74 left one end of Vidarbha's batting exposed. Two-time champions Vidarbha finished the day on 248 for 5, still 290 runs away from the 538 target.
Shreyas Iyer, who had scored a 111-ball 95 in Mumbai's second innings on the third day, did not take to the field on Wednesday due to back pain. ESPNcricinfo learnt that Iyer received some treatment during the day and should be good to field on Thursday. He had missed Mumbai's quarter-final against Baroda with back spasms after he was released from India's Test squad during the series against England.
Vidarbha's slow and careful batting on Wednesday meant Mumbai had to work hard for their five wickets, all of which fell to spin. It was apparent early in the day that even though Vidarbha had conceded a first-innings lead - a decisive factor if the game ends in a draw - they did not want to lose outright, at least on the penultimate day of the final. Their batters attempted to play the long game, scoring only 238 runs in 90 overs on the day at a run rate of 2.64.
Mumbai's three spinners bowled the bulk of the overs with the surface offering plenty of turn. They tried to use the rough on either side of the stumps and found purchase and uneven bounce. Mumbai earned their first wicket when Shams Mulani's left-arm orthodox spin got rid of Atharva Taide (32) lbw after the first drinks break of the morning in the 19th over. Two balls later, offspinner Tanush Kotian had Dhruv Shorey (28) driving down the wrong line and pegged his off stump back to send them sliding from 62 for 0 to 64 for 2.
After lunch, Mumbai captain Ajinkya Rahane went to Musheer Khan for his left-arm orthodox spin, and the 19-year-old got ample bounce and turn with his high-arm release. But a quicker, skiddy delivery from Musheer accounted for the No. 3 Aman Mokhade (32) when he was deemed lbw. Yash Rathod then aimed to dead-bat after the third wicket, but his 39-ball vigil ended on 7 when Kotian darted one in and trapped the left-hand batter inside his crease, and then convinced his captain to use a review successfully.
With the score at 133 for 4, and almost half the day's play remaining, the onus was on Vidarbha's two most experienced batters, Nair and Wadkar. Nair had walked out in the 20th over and played ultra defensively through the day. Against the spinners, he lunged forward often to defend, and also looked comfortable on the back foot.
The occasional unsuccessful reverse sweep aside, Nair reined in his shots all day. He also survived a few gloved defensive shots that went over the close-in fielders wearing the helmet and an lbw decision on umpire's call. He was eventually out seven overs into the second new ball when Musheer got one to zip across and kiss Nair's outside edge on the way to the wicketkeeper. Nair struck only three fours in his 240-ball innings.
Wadkar, on the other hand, displayed controlled aggression to finish on an unbeaten 91-ball 56 at stumps. He started his innings with two fours in his first six balls and played shots more on the merit of the deliveries. Wadkar used the depth of the crease well to pull through the leg side when the tired spinners landed balls short. After Nair fell, Wadkar reached his 18th first-class fifty in style by slapping Tushar Deshpande for six over backward point and ensured he would return on the final day alongside the No. 7 Harsh Dubey who showed glimpses of his aggressive style by smacking a six to long-on minutes before stumps.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx

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Ranji Trophy

Elite, Group A
TEAMMWLDPTQuotient
VIDAR7511331.351
SAU7412291.592
SVCS7214251.625
HRYNA7322241.616
RAJ7223191.028
JHK7223160.717
MAHA7133120.914
MNPR707000.224
Elite, Group B
TEAMMWLDPTQuotient
MUM7511371.647
AP7313261.177
BENG7223191.314
KER7115171.093
CGR7115161.082
UP7106141.038
ASSAM714280.680
BIHAR704350.419
Elite, Group C
TEAMMWLDPTQuotient
TN7412281.782
KNTKA7313271.252
GUJ7421251.117
RLYS7322241.211
TPURA7223171.114
PNJB713390.781
CHD701660.343
GOA705240.754
Elite, Group D
TEAMMWLDPTQuotient
MP7403321.535
BRODA7313241.149
DELHI7322200.940
J + K7214180.928
UKHND7223171.007
PONDI7241130.820
ODSA7142120.870
HP7142110.864