Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ranji Trophy Final - A Real Thriller

Date: 14.01.2010
Venue: Mysore, Karnataka
Ranji Trophy Final, Mumbai vs Karnataka
A most memorable Ranji Trophy Final. Mumbai just about managed to hold their nerves in the end and win by 6 runs. Ajit Agarkar catching S Aravind off his own bowling brought the curtains down on one of the most enthralling games in recent times. Karnataka were the in-form team winning most of the matches while Mumbai went through mostly on the basis of the first innings lead. The contest was said to be that between Karnataka's bowlers & Mumbai's batsmen. And Karnataka as hosts chose the bowler-friendly Mysore over Bangalore as venue for the final. Wasim Jaffer won the toss and elected to bat first. Mumbai were in trouble early but their lower middle order came to the rescue (as it has the entire season), and they managed to reach 233. Mumbai's fast bowlers responded by bowling out Karnataka for 127. Mumabi were in trouble again in the second innings but Dhawal Kulkarni & Abhishek Nayar fought back. Karnataka had to chase 338. Agarkar removed the top order. But Manish Pandey & G Satish hung around with a double century partneship with Pandey making 144. But after their dismissal, the rest of the batting could not take their team home. And Mumbai became the Ranji champions for the 39th time.
This was a really enthralling match. The pitch was helpful to the bowlers but not unplayable. And this in my opinion was the biggest reason for such a fantastic game. Such a pitch ensured a result and not a batathon for the first innings lead. If all pitches could be a bit like this, cricket would be really benefited.
Going by the feedback on the cricinfo commentary there was a lot of interest in this game. And this despite the national team playing at the same time. The teams were well matched though Mumbai had more experience in their ranks. There were a few former India players in the contest (Agarkar, Jaffer, Powar, Salvi, Uthappa, Sunil Joshi). And thanks to the IPL quite a few others were known names (Pandey, Vinay Kumar, Kulkarni, Rahane). So despite the absence of big names (Tendulkar, Dravid, Zaheer, Rohit Sharma) the interest level was pretty high.
And there were plenty of good performances and some drama too. Karnataka pace duo of Vinay Kumar & Abhimanyu Mithun spells in both innings, Agarkar's controversial run out in the first innings, Vinayak Samant's fifty, Avishkar Salvi's five wicket haul, Nayar & Kulkarni's batting in the second innings for Mumbai, Manish Pandey's century, the Pandey-Satish parthership and Agarkar's 5 wicket haul in the second innings. But the highlight of the match was Manish Pandey's unbelievable catch to dismiss Abhishek Nayar. It was immediately dubbed as a Youtube classic. Just see it to believe it.
I am wondering what would have happened if the game had entered the last day. With a solar eclipse scheduled for tomorrow, things would have become interesting. Would play have taken under the eclipse? Any laws of the game regarding this?

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