Ranji Trophy: Shardul Thakur's fifer leads Mumbai to record 41st title

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Ranji Trophy: Shardul Thakur's fifer leads Mumbai to record 41st title

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Amlan Majumdar

02/26/2016

A five-wicket haul from fast bowler Shardul Thakur helped Mumbai bowl out Saurashtra for 115 in the second innings to register a win by an innings and 21 runs to lift the Ranji Trophy title for a record 41st time. Shreyas Iyer won the man of the match award for his century in the first innings

Brief Scores: Saurashtra 235 all out  in 93.2 overs (Arpit Vasavada 77(214), Prerak Mankad 66(142), Kulkarni 5/42, Thakur 3/89) and 115 all out  in 48.2 overs (Pujara 27(98), Thakur 5/26, Sandhu 2/21) lost to Mumbai 371 all out in 82.2 overs (Shreyas Iyer 117(142), Siddhesh Lad 88(101), Suryakumar Yadav 48(112), Hardik Rathod 3/73, Unadkat 4/118) by an innings and 21 runs

After taking a 27-run lead on day 2, Mumbai added 109 runs more to the tally in the third day of play with middle-order batsman Siddhesh Lad forming a 103-run partnership with tail-ender Balwinder Sandhu. However, the team got off to a poor start in the first session of play losing Iqbal Abdullah in the first over of day 3. Unadkat cleaned up the left-hander for 15 to put Mumbai at 268/9 to give Saurashtra hopes of a comeback into the match.

But Siddhesh Lad, along with Balwinder Sandhu ruined all the hopes of the Saurashtra players with Lad taking on the bowlers in order to push the lead upwards. Sandhu joined the right-hander after some misses and scored 34 off 49 balls including six boundaries to take the lead past 100. Lad looked all set for a deserved century before Unadkat once again struck to remove him for 88 off 101 balls. A thick edge of the right-hander found its way into Sheldon Jackson’s gloves to bring curtains to Mumbai’s innings of 371.

With a 136-run lead, Mumbai were in the driver’s seat with Saurashtra needing to climb a mountain in the second innings to keep the match going. However, it was a similar story to the first innings as the top order once again collapsed in front of some lethal pace bowling from Thakur and Kulkarni. But it was Sandhu, who struck the first blow removing opener Avi Barot for four to start the procession to the pavilion. Kulkarni joined him next and took the wickets of Sagar Jogiyani to put Saurashtra at 15/2. Pujara was the only batsman in the Saurashtra line-up, who showed some application by scoring 27 off 98 balls before Thakur sent him back with Herwadkar taking the catch.   

Thakur ran through the lower middle-order and tail enders after a brief resistance from Pujara and Jaydev Shah to finish off Saurashtra for 115, and gift his team the Ranji Trophy title for the record 41st time.

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