Collective effort takes Mumbai to 42nd Ranji title

Mumbai players celebrating the victory. (Source:

Mumbai clinched their 42nd Ranji title, defeating a determined Vidarbha team by 169 runs on the final day of the match at Wankhede on Thursday. Chasing an improbable 538 for victory, Vidarbha were all out for 368 in their second innings. 

Vidarbha were in the game during a 130-run sixth wicket partnership between Akshay Wadkar (102) and Harsh Dubey (65). Eventually, however, Mumbai proved to be too strong. 

Tanush Kotian (4-95) and Tushar Deshpande (2-53) played crucial roles in dismissing the lower order of the Vidarbha batting, while Dhawal Kulkarni (1-38) bade first-class cricket farewell in style by castling Umesh Yadav to seal the win. 

The final witnessed numerous twists and turns, showcasing Mumbai’s resilient and gritty nature, especially when faced with challenging situations. The legacy of Mumbai cricket will continue after this emphatic win to inspire a generation of youngsters from the maidans. 

The resilient Vidarbha team deserves commendation for their spirited performance against the Mumbai bowlers. Wadkar emerged as the standout player, crafting a superb century that nearly turned the tide in his team’s favour. After Karun Nair’s dismissal on Day 4, Wadkar led by example, showcasing his deep commitment to Vidarbha cricket and the importance of putting up a strong fight. Mumbai felt the pressure with Wadkar’s presence at the crease, as runs flowed freely for the time being, bringing the target within reach. However, his dismissal by Kotian, who excelled in crucial moments, ultimately shifted the momentum decisively in Mumbai’s favour.

Dubey showcased his all-round prowess in the final, making significant contributions with both bat and ball. Tasked with supporting captain Wadkar, Dubey rose to the occasion admirably. His composed half-century under pressure highlighted his maturity and astute understanding of the game. What set Dubey apart was his adeptness at rotating the strike, which proved frustrating for the Mumbai team. 

However, despite his efforts, Dubey’s innings were cut short soon after Wadkar’s dismissal. Deshpande executed a well-planned dismissal to remove him to shift the momentum completely in Mumbai’s favour.  

Kulkarni, the man of the moment, expressed his immense satisfaction after claiming the final wicket, labelling it as a profoundly special moment for him. Reflecting on his final moments in first-class cricket, the medium pacer expressed gratitude for being given the opportunity to lead once more. With a remarkable 16-year stint as a Mumbai stalwart, Kulkarni acknowledged that his absence would be felt in the Mumbai dug-out, but he couldn’t have scripted a better farewell for himself.

Meanwhile, Shardul Thakur, the pivotal player in the Mumbai team, shared his perspective on the final, emphasising on the collective effort of the squad. He expressed joy at witnessing the team’s hard work translate into success, particularly relishing the team’s penchant for thriving under pressure. Thakur highlighted Mumbai’s ethos of excelling in challenging situations, stating that their ability to seize the advantage under pressure is emblematic of the team’s identity. He concluded by expressing satisfaction at their triumph in the final. 

Captain Ajinkya Rahane’s closing remarks touched hearts as he stated: “It was all our team’s collective effort, and this moment is extremely special for all of us. Credit has to go to our support staff as well. It is only the players’ efforts that are seen on the field. However, the back-end effort is what makes all the difference.” 

Rahane added: “I haven’t gotten much runs this season but this is a phase for any cricketer. I am just extremely happy we have won this trophy. To end it, I just want to congratulate Dhawal on this fantastic career and wish him the best to whatever he takes up in the future.” 

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