Mumbai crush Saurashtra on Day 3 to win 41st Ranji Trophy title
Mumbai came up with a superlative show on the third day of the Ranji Trophy final at the MCA Stadium in Pune, to blow away Saurashtra by an innings and 21 runs. The game, which had looked to be in the balance at the end of Day 2, ended as a one-sided match on Friday.
Mumbai had a lead of 27 runs when play resumed, but Siddhesh Lad and Balwinder Sandhu brought up 103 runs for the 10th wicket, the highest partnership for the last wicket for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy history. The diminutive Lad showed the full range of his strokes, hitting fives sixes and eight fours on way to a 101-ball 88. Last man Sandhu gave able support with a 49-ball 34.
After Shreyas Iyer’s show on Thursday, it was Lad who was entertaining the spectators with attacking batting on Friday – not the kind of batting usually seen in first class cricket.
Mumbai had a first innings lead of 136 runs when Lad was finally cleaned up by Jaydev Unadkat. Coming in to bat in the first session itself, Saurashtra were put on the defensive straight away with the fall of the wickets of both their openers before the lunch break itself.
Cheteshwar Pujara (27) provided some resistance, but the rest of the batting order paraded in and out of the field, not being able to come up with any reply to the seam trio of Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur and Balwinder Singh Sandhu. With Pujara’s wicket, all that remained to be seen was whether Mumbai could inflict an innings defeat.
Mumbai’s dominance and Saurashtra’s dream run
Shreyas Iyer was named Man of the Match for his 117 in the first innings, but no less crucial were Lad’s demoralising batting on the morning of Day 3 and the fifer by Shardul Thakur later on the same day.
This was Mumbai’s 41st win the Ranji Trophy final, and their 10th innings victory in a final. All other teams of the country have together won the Ranji Trophy 41 times, and no other single team has won the title for even 10 times.
Saurashtra will remember the 2015/16 campaign for a long time, as the year in which they emerged from Group C to play a Ranji final for only the second time. Their hero with the ball in the initial stages of the tournament, Ravindra Jadeja, was not with them in the knockout matches, and this would be a major regret for Saurashtra fans.
Iyer, who was chasing VVS Laxman’s record for most runs scored in a season, fell 95 runs short of the honour, as his team was not required to bat for a second time in the match.
Brief Scores: Mumbai 371 (Iyer 117, Lad 88; Unadkat 4/118) beat Saurashtra 115 all out (Pujara 27, Shardul Thakur 5/26) and 235 by an innings and 21 runs