MUMBAI: It was obvious within the first session of play on Saturday that this Ranji Trophy final too would go the way 39 previously have. That way is Mumbai’s. At their stronghold, the Wankhede Stadium, the home team, having dismantled half of Saurashtra by lunch, scuttled the visitors out for 148 after sending them in on a pitch with some decent moisture-aided movement and carry.
Mumbai were 19 without loss at close, the track having eased out and the stage set for yet another title triumph. Medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni was the pick of the bowlers, jolting the visitors in a troubling first spell and finishing the day with 4/24. All-rounder Abhishek Nayar gained his team crucial breakthroughs late in the second session, and left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar benefitted from
the pressure that Kulkarni imposed with two wickets of his own.
Only the bespectacled Aarpit Vasavada, who replaced his skipper Jaydev Shah at No.4, contributed a fighting half-century, as Saurashtra’s
reliance on their docile home wicket at Rajkot came to the fore. The 24-year-old Vasavada added 64 for the sixth wicket with all-rounder Kamlesh Makvana in the only partnership of note, before Nayar snared
both batsmen just before tea, arresting the resurrection.
Saurashtra sorely missed Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja, both
of whom are away on national duty. Mumbai went unchanged from the
eleven that had beaten Services in the semifinal, while Saurashtra
brought in medium pacer Saurya Sanandiya instead of off-spinner Vishal
Joshi, who was Man of the Match in the semifinal against Punjab.
Mumbai tasted success in the second over of the morning when a
struggling Sagar Jogiyani (1) showed no foot movement and
lethargically edged Kulkarni to Wasim Jaffer at second slip.
For the most part Mumbai attacked with three slips and a gully, an
approach that yielded results. Rahul Dave (3) was slow to react to a
sharp Kulkarni bouncer – aimed at the noggin – that was edged to
Ankeet Chavan at gully and taken at second attempt. Kulkarni’s
sensational first spell read 7-4-6-2. The 40-year-old grinder
Shitanshu Kotak dug in for 66 balls for his 14, during which he
cramped up going for a quick single and required assistance on the
Kotak’s first display of intent – a needless push outside off against
an around-the-wicket Dabholkar - cost him his stay and Saurashtra
their third dismissal. Sheldon Jackson came ahead of skipper Jaydev
Shah and never looked comfortable. He top-edged a Kulkarni bouncer for
four and went down to the same bowler, pushing leaden-footedly to edge
to Aditya Tare behind the wicket. Saurashtra had crawled to 50 in the
31st over, when Shah whipped Dabholkar casually and fatally straight
to short mid-wicket for a six-ball duck.
Also read: Mumbai Diary - Sidelights from the Wankhede
The left-handed Vasavada began with an authoritative pull against
Kulkarni and provided the lone resistance. He too was tested. A
leading edge off Nayar went rattling between slips and gully and,
later, a loose drive-induced edge against Ajit Agarkar also raced
fortuitously through the gap. The 24-year-old brought up his fourth
First Class fifty with a single off Nayar late in the second session,
and it was the same bowler who claimed him.
Vasavada and Kamlesh Makvana (26) had added 64 in 149 balls when a
short-of-length delivery caught the shoulder of the former’s bat and
was taken at slip by Hiken Shah. Nayar got the other set party,
Makvana, his next over, the batsman cutting hard and straight to
Kaustubh Pawar at gully. This meant tea was taken at 117/7, only the
tail remaining and that failed to wag. Agarkar rattled Sanandiya’s
stumps, Jayadev Unadkat was run out after he failed to ground his bat,
and last man Siddharth Trivedi became Kulkarni’s fourth victim when he
was caught behind.
This left Mumbai eight overs to face before close. Veteran Wasim
Jaffer survived a close leg-before appeal to Unadkat on the first ball
of the innings – saved for height, perhaps – but it was smooth sailing
thereafter. To make matters worse for Saurashtra, Trivedi was warned
for running on to the danger area of the pitch. With the track eased
out, expect the home side to amass a big total over the next few days.
Really, Mumbai already have one hand on another Ranji Trophy.
Mumbai won the toss and elected to field
Saurashtra 1st Innings
SH Kotak c Jaffer b Dabholkar 14
SD Jogiyani c Jaffer b Kulkarni 1
RR Dave c Chavan b Kulkarni 3
AV Vasavada c Shah b Nayar 55
SP Jackson c Tare b Kulkarni 5
JN Shah c Shah b Dabholkar 0
KR Makvana c Pawar b Nayar 26
SM Sanandiya b Agarkar 4
JD Unadkat run out (Dabholkar) 22
DA Jadeja not out 4
SK Trivedi c Tare b Kulkarni 2
Total (all out; 75.3 overs) 148
FOW: 1-2 (Jogiyani, 1.3 overs), 2-12 (Dave, 9.3 overs), 3-36 (Kotak, 26.2 overs), 4-45 (Jackson, 29.2 overs), 5-50 (Shah, 30.5 overs), 6-114 (Vasavada, 55.4 overs), 7-115 (Makvana, 57.6 overs), 8-141 (Sanandiya, 70.6 overs), 9-142 (Unadkat, 72.4 overs), 10-148 (Trivedi, 75.3 overs)
Bowling: Agarkar 16-6-33-1; DS Kulkarni 21.3-13-24-4; SN Thakur 12-2-31-0; AM Nayar 10-3-30-2; VV Dabholkar 11-3-14-2; AA Chavan 5-2-10-0
Mumbai 1st Innings 19 for no loss
W Jaffer not out 11
KR Pawar not out 4
Total (for no loss in 8 overs) 19
Bowling: JD Unadkat 4-2-8-0; SK Trivedi 4-0-10-0