Madhya Pradesh beat Mumbai by 6 wickets in Ranji Trophy final to end long wait for domestic title | Cricket News


BENGALURU: Redemption comes to those who wait, and for Madhya Pradesh, it was a long-drawn one that spanned 23 years. When they laid hands on their maiden Ranji Trophy, they did it in some style against an opposition that fought and threatened until the last session on the final day.
Whether it was through a quirk of fate or just destiny, MP registered a six-wicket victory over Mumbai at the M Chinnaswamy stadium – a venue where they played their first title clash, and lost, to hosts Karnataka. Chandrakant Pandit, then captain and now coach of the team, was stoic throughout this match, but broke down when Rajat Patidar (30 n. o, 37b, 4×4) brought up the victory. It was a nervy one, despite Madhya Pradesh’s firm grip on the match.

While the rest of the team rushed to join Patidar and skipper Aditya Shrivastava in the middle, Pandit looked up at the sky, lips moving in prayer, and allowed the moment to sink in before he jogged over to join the team. It was his sixth Ranji Trophy title as coach, having guided Mumbai thrice and Vidarbha twice to the crown.
It has been a season of dominance for Madhya Pradesh, who won outright four of the five matches they played en route to the final. Individual brilliance was amalgamated with team spirit, a combination that proved too deadly for 41-time champions Mumbai.

The hunger to win was evident as the team arrived in the city three weeks before the knockouts to acclimatise and get some game time, which included a practice match against Karnataka.
Pre-match favourites Mumbai will rue missed opportunities, especially the dismissal of Patidar off a no-ball when he was on 52 in the first innings. He went on to add 70 more runs, which proved to be a game changer.

Mumbai were bowled out for 269 in 57.3 overs in their second innings, which meant MP needed a mere 108 runs to win – not enough to ensure a miracle win for Mumbai but big enough for MP not to take the chase lightly. With shouts of “jeetega bhai jeetega, MP jeetega” emanating from one heavily populated stand, MP openers Himanshu Mantri (37) and Yash Dubey walked out to help their team surmount the final hurdle.
Pacer Dhawal Kulkarni offered Mumbai some hope when he sent Dubey’s middle stump cartwheeling in the second over to leave MP at 2/1.

That hope turned into an opening when Mantri and Parth Sahani were sent back in quick succession. With MP at 66/3, and 42 runs away, Mumbai perhaps smelled a genuine opportunity to turn the match on its head, but Patidar, who finished the season as the team’s highest run-getter with 658, quickly restored MP to the driving seat. MP’s victory parade was held up when Shubham Sharma (30) was dismissed with seven runs required, but the interval was brief.

When Mumbai resumed from their overnight 113/2, there could have been only one plan – get a heap of runs in quick time and subject MP to some pressure. It didn’t pan out that way.

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