Mumbai: Mumbai clinched the Ranji Trophy title for the record 40th time as they thrashed Saurashtra in the final by an innings and 125 runs at the Wankhede Stadium here on Monday.
Dhawal Kulkarni and Ajit Agarkar, the Mumbai skipper, proved to be the wrecker-in-chiefs for Saurashtra, picking up 5 for 32 and 4 for 15 respectively. Saurashtra’s batsmen looked inept against the swing and seam bowling of Mumbai, falling like a pack of cards for just 82 inside 36.3 overs.
The batting display by Saurashtra was so appalling that only two batsmen could go into double figures, with three going without scoring. After putting up 355 in the first innings, with a crucial lead of 207, Mumbai wanted to strike a few blows in a brief period before lunch and Agarkar provided that in the first over of the innings when he got Shitanshu Kotak (0) caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper Aditya Tare. Saurashtra went into lunch with 1 for 1.
After taking a crucial 207-run lead, Mumbai finished Saurashtra's second innings for just 82, winning the contest by an innings and 125 runs inside three days.
Agarkar came into act immediately after the break when Sagar Jogiyani (0) poked at a delivery that pitched in line and moved away. Like Jogiyani, Rahul Dave (5) too was neither back nor forward and was caught in the gully by Ankit Chavan off Kulkarni.
Things went from bad to worse when Kulkarni trapped Aarpit Vasavada lbw for a duck. Skipper Jaydev Shah (6) had no clue to a Kulkarni delivery that jagged back in after pitching, rattling his stumps.
Sheldon Jackson, who struck a few crisp boundaries, missed a full-pitched by Kulkarni altogether, getting bowled for 9. Abhishek Nayar got a wicket in his very first over when he drew Kamlesh Makwana (7) forward to an out-swinger which found the thick part of the batsman’s bat before being pouched comfortable by Hiken Shah at first slip.
Kularni got his fourth when he had Saurya Sanandiya caught by Vishal Dabholkar at gully and his fifth came when he got Jadeja caught behind to end Saurashtra’s second innings.
Earlier, Saurashtra did not have to wait long for the day's first breakthrough. Siddharth Trivedi bowled a full delivery that moved away a tad, finding an outside edge of Kulkarni's (18) bat. Hiken Shah (55), who was unbeaten on 41 on day two, kept the scoreboard ticking with well-stolen singles.
Chavan (41), who replaced Kulkarni, opened up once he survived a close lbw shout off Unadkat, getting a streaky four through the slips before drilling down the ground and clipping through past square leg for more boundaries.
Shah completed his seventh first-class half-century when he cut Unadkat for four. But his 191 minutes stay at the wicket ended when he edged Saurya Sanandiya to wicketkeeper Jogiyani. Makvana, the offspinner, finished the Mumbai innings in his back-to-back overs. He had both Shardul Thakur (10) and Chavan caught behind as Mumbai innings ended for 355.