Pandit-coached team humbles Mumbai to clinch maiden Ranji title

Courtesy of a dominant performance in the title decider, MP clinched its maiden Ranji crown. On the fifth and final day, Mumbai could manage only 269 in its second essay, leaving MP with a paltry target of 108 to chase.
Madhya Pradesh players celebrate the  Ranji Trophy triumph
Madhya Pradesh players celebrate the Ranji Trophy triumph

BENGALURU: In a one-sided Ranji Trophy final, Madhya Pradesh on Sunday humbled domestic powerhouse Mumbai under the tutelage of head coach Chandrakant Pandit, who exorcised the ghosts of losing a summit clash at this very ground 23 years ago.

Courtesy of a dominant performance in the title decider, MP clinched its maiden Ranji crown. On the fifth and final day, Mumbai could manage only 269 in its second essay, leaving MP with a paltry target of 108 to chase. And, the Aditya Shrivastava-led team won it in style, with Pandit bagging his sixth national title as coach.

Sarfaraz Khan (45 off 48 balls, 2 fours, 1 six), who fell just 18 short of 1,000 runs this season, and youngster Suved Parkar (51 off 58 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) tried their bit. But with Mumbai needing to attack at every opportunity, MP left-arm chinaman bowler Kumar Kartikeya (4/98) and his colleagues knew that wickets would come their way.

With just over 100 runs to get, the MP team strolled to the line, although there were a few hiccups in the chase. Himanshu Mantri (37 off 55 balls, 3 fours), Shubham Sharma (30 off 75 balls, 1 four, 1 six) and Rajat Patidar (30 not out off 37 balls, 4 fours) combined for nearly 100 runs in the fourth innings of the match.

As MP completed the victory, an emotional Pandit was flooded with memories – not so happy ones – which he had not been able to erase for two decades. It was at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in 1999 when MP, despite securing a first-innings lead of 75 runs, failed to win the final as Pandit, captain back then, finished his playing career in tears.

Pandit has once again proved that he is an ‘Alchemist’, having previously guided Vidarbha to four trophies (back-to-back titles in the Ranji Trophy and the Irani Cup). By working with less fancied names such as Yash Dubey, Mantri, Shubham, Gourav Yadav and Saransh Jain, Pandit created a team that rarely conceded an inch to the opponent.

The absence of Avesh Khan and Venkatesh Iyer, who are on national duty in Ireland, made MP’s victory even more sweeter as they have been vital cogs over the years.

BRIEF SCORES: Final: Mumbai 374 & 269 in 57.3 overs (S Parkar 51, Sarfaraz 45, P Shaw 44, K Kartikeya 4/98) lost to Madhya Pradesh 536 & 108/4 in 29.5 overs (H Mantri 37, S Mulani 3/41)

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