Mumbai Diary - Day 3

Sidelights from the Mumbai vs Saurashtra Ranji Trophy final at the Wankhede

Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit Agarkar hold aloft the Ranji Trophy. Picture by Skandan Sampath, Yahoo! Cricket

Sticky no more

Shitanshu Kotak's superglue methods at the crease appeared to have evaporated when Saurashtra needed them most. The veteran stonewaller chased a leg-side wide to be caught behind off just the third ball he faced in the second innings, a dismissal quite unbecoming of a man of his patience. What was worse that this may have been the 40-year-old’s last Ranji game. Kotak presently sits four tantalizing runs away from a first class tally of 8,000 – a record he may not get another chance to achieve.

Inglorious record

0050697. This is what Saurashtra’s second innings scorecard read from the top down. Reared on the infamous flat track at Rajkot, the batsmen found themselves all at sea on a juicy pitch at the Wankhede Stadium. At one stage, the visitors threatened to collapse for below 21 – the lowest score in Ranji Trophy – before managing to heave across that line and finishing on 82, to go with the 148 in the first essay. Certainly not the most ideal way to perform in their first Ranji final in over half-a-century.

Twice unlucky

Medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni took nine wickets for 56, routing Saurashtra twice over in Mumbai’s 40th Ranji win. But the 24-year-old was overlooked for the Man of the Match award in favour of Wasim Jaffer, who had scored a chancy hundred in the first innings. Not taking away anything from the veteran opener’s effort, Jaffer benefitted from at least three reprieves during his knock, although he did break a number of records on the way. Kulkarni had missed out on the award in the semifinal too, where his 5/33 was instrumental in Mumbai gaining first innings lead over Services. Ajit Agarkar’s hundred in that match was deemed more deserving of the honour.

Mega Mumbai

Mumbai have now won 40 Ranji titles from 44 finals. In some sports there is a tradition to hand over a rolling trophy to the team that wins it thrice in succession. Imagine the number of trophies that the BCCI would have had to forge during the team’s unprecedented run in the 1960s. Mumbai’s big-match temperament came to the fore yet again versus Saurashtra. They played five bowlers, elected to field and worked perfectly to a well-conceived plan. It helped a great deal that their opponents seemed overawed, at least in their ill-fated second innings.

Captain courageous

Ajit Agarkar led from the front when it came down to the crunch. He rescued his team from 23/3 against Services in the semifinal with a timely century. In the final against Saurashtra, Agarkar got rid of the openers for a duck apiece to pry open the innings, paving the way for Dhawal Kulkarni to wipe out the rest. The proud captain couldn’t have said it better at the post match: “It's always important you lead from the front and not take your place for granted. We have all grown up knowing the history of Mumbai, and we always try to live up to it.”

Super stumper

Wicketkeeper-batsman Aditya Tare has had a productive season. With 842 runs at a shade under 50, he has been Mumbai’s second-highest scorer behind the prolific Abhishek Nayar. His exploits include a double hundred versus Saurashtra in a league game and a crucial century in the semifinal against Services. Tare has also been busy behind the wicket. During Saurashtra’s second innings in the title match, he claimed four victims, and finished alongside Punjab’s Uday Kaul as the most successful ‘keeper with 41 dismissals.

Six bomb

Mumbai medium pacer Shardul Thakur is confounding to watch, at least when he is performing his primary duty with the ball. The 21-year-old, in his debut season, insists on spraying it wide, exhibits little control and is generally devoid of bite. Shardul, however, can clout it like the best. He has hit six sixes in an over in a local match and is feared in city circles. Unfortunately for his State side, his batting ability has yet to surface at the higher level, nor is his bowling worthy enough to warrant a place on the team.

MORE FROM THE RANJI TROPHY FINAL:

DAY 3

Report: Mumbai humble Saurashtra to claim Title No 40

DAY 2

Report: Jaffer’s hundred gives Saurashtra agony
Mumbai Diary: Fickle fans and sore sights
Unfortunate I ran Tendulkar out: Jaffer

DAY 1

Report: Kulkarni runs through Saurashtra
Mumbai Diary: Missing Pujara and Jadeja
Pitch was great for pacers: Kulkarni
Walking around Wankhede

ALSO

Wanted: Better domestic scheduling
Revisiting Ranji

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »