Ranji Trophy Final Day 1: Vasavada and Mankad take Saurashtra to safety after Kulkarni heroics with the ball
Indian pace bowler Dhawal Kulkarni picked up four wickets to put the Saurashtra in trouble early on
The 82nd Ranji Trophy final was Mumbai's 45th final in the history of the tournament. This described how difficult Mumbai's opponents, Saurashtra, would find it in the final encounter of the 2015/16 Ranji season. The two teams met each other during the 2012/13 Ranji Trophy final with Mumbai having come out victorious.
Being played at the MCA Stadium in Pune, Mumbai won the toss and put Saurashtra into bat. It seems like the top-order batsmen from Saurashtra were feeling the pressures of playing in a final as they were not able to handle the seam bowling of Dhawal Kulkarni.
The Mumbai pacer four of the first six wickets and helped reduce Saurashtra to 108/7 in 52 overs, the pressure mounting high on the Saurashtra batsmen. Cheteshwar Pujara has been in good form for Saurashtra, however, the batsman was not able to continue the good form as he was dismissed for just 4 runs.
For the eighth wicket, Arpit Vasavada and debutant, Prerak Mankad put in an 84-run partnership to help take their side to a respectable total at the end of the first day.
Vasavada's dismissal was the last action of Day One. The 27-year-old scored 77 runs off 214 balls, hitting six boundaries.
Mankad, who was playing his first ever first-class match was the hero for Saurashtra as he made a fighting unbeaten 55 off 119 balls. After Abhijit Karambelkar made his debut for Baroda against Rajasthan in the 2010/11 Ranji final, Mankad is the first man to make his debut in a final of the tournament.
Kulkarni was the pick of the Mumbai bowlers. After having missed out on the semi-finals of the tournament, Kulkarni has given the Mumbai bowling department an extra edge over Saurashtra in the most crucial battle of the competition.
Shardul Thakur picked up two wickets for Mumbai while Abhishek Nayar and Balwinder Sandhu picked up one wicket each.
Saurashtra will be hoping their last two batsmen can give some support to Mankad and help post a total that will give their bowlers something to bowl at in the first innings.
Mumbai, on the other hand, will be looking to wrap things up quickly in the first session of Day 2 and hope for a good performance from their batsmen.
Brief Scores: Saurashtra 192/8, 84.4 overs (Vasavada 77, Mankad 55*; Kulkarni 4/30, Thakur 2/59) v Mumbai.
Saurashtra reeling on 77/5 in #Ranji final vs Mumbai(Pujara 4).Looks like they were given the same wicket on which SL pacemen laid India low— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 24, 2016
Last player to make his first-class debut in Ranji Trophy final, before Prerak Mankad in this final, was Abhijit Karambelkar 2010-11 final— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) February 24, 2016
Arpit Vasavada 50 batting in #RanjiTrophy final (Sau 109/7)— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) February 24, 2016
His scores across all formats for Saurashtra in 2016 before this:
2, 5, 4, 1, 10