Ranji Trophy Final Review: Mumbai beat Saurashtra for their 41st title
Updated - Feb 26, 2016 12:08 pm
Saurashtra’s fairytale run in the Ranji Trophy was ended by Mumbai on day 3 of the summit clash in Pune. After being relegated to the C group this season, Saurashtra qualified for the knockout stages finishing 2nd and produced some stellar performances when needed to enter the final. The team was very much in the game until the 3rd morning in Pune, however, drop catches cost its chances dearly. Mumbai on the other hand just did the basics well and sealed the match thanks to some brilliant individual performances.
Saurashtra had only managed to put up 235 on the board in their first innings after being put in to bat on a green top by Mumbai. The only two significant contributions in Saurashtra’s innings were Arpit Vasavda’s 77 and a late-order fighting knock from Prerak Mankad, who scored 66.
In reply, Mumbai struggled initially and reached 262/8 at the end of the second day. Back then, it looked like they would only get a minor lead. However, the No 3 batsman, Shreyas Iyer, continued his brilliant Ranji Trophy form, scoring a fluent 117. A vital last-wicket partnership of 103 between Siddesh Lad (88) and Balwinder Sandhu (34*) allowed Mumbai to finish on 371, with a lead of over 130.
Iyer’s drop catch had already cost Saurashtra and to make matters worse, Cheteshwar Pujara dropped a sitter off Lad when the Mumbai lead was just 35 runs and their last pair in the middle. Lad went on to smash the bowlers to all parts of the ground and deflated the opposition hopes to no end. Sandhu also defended solidly to keep the bowlers at bay. Saurashtra put themselves into a terrible mess courtesy poor catching and defensive tactics against this last-wicket pair.
Saurashtra hardly got going in their second innings, losing wickets in a heap. Their fragility against the moving ball was again exposed in the second dig, on a surface where there was enough to keep the pacers interested throughout the day. They collapsed to 24/3 and were finally bowled out for only 115. For Mumbai, Shardul Thakur picked up five wickets for 26 runs, while Dhawal Kulkarni and Sandhu took two each.
Saurashtra 1st Innings: 235/10 (Vasavada 77, Mankad 66, Kulkarni 5-42, Thakur 3-89)
Mumbai 1st Innings: 371 (Iyer 117, Lad 88, Unadkat 4-118)
Saurashtra 2nd Innings: 115 (Pujara 27, Thakur 5-26)
Man of the match: Shreyas Iyer (Mumbai)