NEW DELHI: Heavy favourites Mumbai were spared the gamble of a coin toss as they beat Services on first innings lead within the first session on Monday to enter their 44th Ranji Trophy final.
The Ajit Agarkar-led side needed just 34.4 overs to dismiss the home team for 240, as medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni claimed five wickets for the match – three of which came with the new ball on the sixth morning.
Services caved in under pressure, losing seven wickets for 76 runs to concede a match-deciding lead of 214.
Rain and poor arrangements at the Palam Sports Complex ground had led to the loss of seven sessions in the match, and for a while it appeared that Services – who had fought valiantly on to finish Sunday on 164/3 in response to Mumbai’s 454/8 declared – would dig in some more to enforce a coin-mediated lottery. But the visiting team made early inroads, getting rid of the two overnight batsmen Sowmya Ranjan Swain (74) and Yashpal Sharma (58) quickly. The wicket of the prolific Rajat Paliwal - played on to Kulkarni – hastened the end.
Mumbai will take on Saurashtra in the final from January 26.
HOUSE OF CARDS
It was easy pickings for Mumbai when play began 15 minutes early to make up for lost time. Soon after he had completed his half-century, Yashpal’s forward press against medium-pacer Shardul Thakur resulted in an outside edge to the wicket-keeper, ending a 114-run partnership.
Swain, who had batted will all the fluency on an unaffected southpaw the previous day, added just 10 to his score before playing back to a left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar delivery that bounced on him. The resulting snick was accepted by Wasim Jaffer at first slip.
With both set batsman gone, only Paliwal stood between Mumbai and a brisk denouement to proceedings. But Paliwal, Services’ best batsman this season, was leaden-footed as he played on to Kulkarni, snuffing out the last hope for the home side. The rest came easy as Kulkarni mopped up the tail with the new ball, accounting for Avishek Sinha, Suraj Yadav and Shadab Nazar, as the innings ended on 240.
Mumbai 1st Innings 454-8 dec
Services 1st innings (Overnight: 164-3)
S Swain* c Jaffer b Dabholkar 74
Y Singh c Tare b Thakur 58
R Paliwal b Kulkarni 11
S Singh† c Tare b Thakur 11
A Sinha c Tare b Kulkarni 22
S Yadav c Tare b Kulkarni 3
S Nazar c Nayar b Kulkarni 0
N Singh not out 0
Extras (b-4, lb-4, w-3, nb-2) 13
Total (all out; 91.4 overs) 240
FOW: 4-186 (Yashpal Singh, 64.3 overs), 5-195 (Swain, 70.2), 6-203 (Paliwal, 75.5), 7-227 (Sarabjit Singh, 86.1), 8-230 (Yadav, 87.4), 9-235 (Nazar, 89.3), 10-240 (Sinha, 91.4).
Bowling: Agarkar 13-4-39-0; Kulkarni 21.4-8-33-5; Dabholkar 19-6-51-1; Chavan 12-4-33-1; Thakur 21-1-62-3; Nayar 5-0-14-0.