Mumbai set sight on 42nd Ranji title

Musheer Khan and Ajinkya Rahane at the crease for Mumbai. Source (BCCI X)

The Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Vidarbha has witnessed two days of enthralling cricket. Mumbai, renowned for their resilience, have once again showcased their fighting spirit, taking control of the match and placing Vidarbha in a precarious position. Shardul Thakur’s stellar performance with the bat has propelled his team to the forefront yet again, as his gritty innings of 75 runs in the first innings has significantly benefited Mumbai’s chances of victory.

Mumbai stepped up to bat first in the final, initiating their innings with a promising start from openers Prithvi Shaw and Bhupen Lalwani, who made valuable contributions to the scoreboard. However, their momentum faltered as they lost both wickets in quick succession, failing to capitalise on the initial momentum. Rising star Musheer Khan couldn’t make his mark this time, adding just six runs to the tally. Even the seasoned campaigners Shreyas Iyer and captain Ajinkya Rahane couldn’t salvage the situation, mustering a mere seven runs each, leaving Mumbai under serious pressure.

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Once again, ‘Lord Shardul’ emerged as his team’s savior, crafting a match-defining innings that swung the momentum back in Mumbai’s favour. Just as Vidarbha started to gain the upper hand, Thakur’s sheer determination propelled his team to a respectable first innings total. He eight boundaries and launched three towering sixes, showcasing not just power but also an impeccable sense of timing. This incredible comeback embodied the spirit of Mumbai cricket, tenaciousness and a refusal to give up in the face of difficulty. It demonstrated why Mumbai have accumulated multiple trophies over the years to become a cricket powerhouse.

The momentum generated by Thakur’s stellar innings carried over into Mumbai’s bowling, as they made swift inroads into Vidarbha’s top order, dismissing them for a meager total. With just 39 runs on the board and four key wickets down, Vidarbha faced an uphill battle to reach the modest target of 224. Dhawal Kulkarni, Shams Mulani, and Tanush Kotian were the top performers, each claiming three wickets and orchestrating Vidarbha’s downfall as they were bundled out for a mere 105 runs.

As Day 2 drew to a close, Mumbai asserted its dominance in the final, despite another early setback with the openers failing to make a significant impact. However, Rahane returned to form and anchored the innings with a composed knock of 58. Alongside him, Musheer has also shown his mettle, reaching a well-deserved fifty in the final over of the day. exuding confidence and stability at the crease. With the two at the helm, Mumbai are poised to extend their lead and tighten their grip on the match as they head into Day 3.

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