Vidarbha show resolve, but Mumbai still on top

Karun Nair played a gritty knock in the Ranji Trophy Final against Mumbai. Source (X)

After a dominant display on Day 3, led by a stellar hundred from Musheer Khan and a solid contribution from Shreyas Iyer, Mumbai were the clear frontrunners in the Ranji Trophy final. Vidarbha, on the other hand, were struggling to mount a comeback.

Chasing a daunting target of over 500 runs, Vidarbha’s batting lineup faced an uphill battle from the start on Day 4. None of their batsmen looked settled in the first innings, making their task even more challenging. Although Vidarbha got off to a decent start in the second innings, with 64 runs on the board, they suffered a set-back when Atharva Taide was dismissed leg before by Mumbai’s standout bowler this season, Shams Mulani.

Adding to Vidarbha’s woes, they suffered another blow when Tanush Kotian dismissed Dhruv Shorey for 28 runs in the next over. Despite providing a solid start, Vidarbha’s openers failed to capitalise and build pressure on the Mumbai bowlers. Musheer further compounded Vidarbha’s troubles by claiming the wicket of Aman Mokhade.

With three wickets down, Mumbai looked poised to dismantle Vidarbha’s batting line-up, and Tanush Kotian struck again to dismiss Yash Rathod, securing his second wicket of the innings. Mumbai were firmly in control at this juncture, having taken four crucial wickets and putting Vidarbha on the back foot.

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After several quick wickets for Vidarbha, a much-needed partnership emerged, thanks to Karun Nair and Akshay Wadkar. Drawing on his wealth of experience, Nair played a pivotal role in resisting Mumbai’s dominance. His determined innings of 74 provided Vidarbha with a fighting chance to stay in the game. Although Vidarbha would have hoped for Nair to remain at the crease until the end of the day, giving them a glimmer of hope for the final day’s play, his dismissal by Musheer dashed those hopes once again.

As Vidarbha prepare to resume batting on Day 5, they find hope in Akshay Wadkar’s solid innings, standing firm on 56. Meanwhile, Harsh Dubey, who shone with the ball for Vidarbha, now faces the task of replicating his performance with the bat to bolster his team’s chances on the final day.

Despite Mumbai maintaining a commanding position at the end of fouth day’s play, Vidarbha can take heart from their resilient effort amidst the frequent loss of wickets. For Mumbai, the stakes are high as they strive for another Ranji Trophy title and aim to give a fitting farewell to their veteran seamer, Dhawal Kulkarni.

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