Mumbai: Saurashtra’s top order was blown away by Mumbai’s quick bowlers on the third morning of the Ranji final, bringing the curtain down on a hammering that gave Mumbai their 40th Ranji title.
A combination of swing and seam, extra bounce and pace put paid to Saurashtra’s hopes of offering any resistance after falling behind by 207 runs in the first innings. The pitch offered a little to bowlers prepared to do the hard yards, but it was far from a surface that warranted a team being bowled out for just 82 on a sunny day. Just 41 minutes after the tea break Mumbai were home, having won the game by an innings and 125 runs.
If the first-innings collapse betrayed a touch of stage fright, the second innings confirmed that Saurashtra were simply overawed by the big occasion while Mumbai basked in the comfort of being in familiar territory. While Dhaval Kulkarni bowled with purpose, sticking to a good line just outside the off stump, and Ajit Agarkar got on top of the batsmen early on, wickets fell to poor shots rather than unplayable deliveries. After a season of feasting on the batting beauties of the Racecourse Ground, Rajkot and the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium at Khanderi, Saurashtra’s batsmen were ill-equipped to perform on a lively surface when it mattered the most.