Mumbai scale the Ranji Trophy summit for the 42nd time

The final started with a key stat that, this was the only second instance in the 90-year-old history of the Ranji Trophy, two teams from the same state were vying for the coveted silverware. The last instance was when Mumbai and Maharashtra Cricket Association faced off in the 1971 final.

However, the Ranji Trophy 2024 final between Mumbai and Vidarbha kicked off with Akshay Wadkar winning the toss and electing to bowl first on the green turf of Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

Mumbai were cruising on Day 1, but Vidarbha’s relentless pursuit saw them pick four timely wickets to put themselves on a pedestal. They picked two wickets in the afternoon to put Mumbai on the back foot. With the help of Shardul Thakur’s 75, Mumbai posted a decent total of 224 concluding their innings.

Vidarbha aiming to capitalise on their bowling efforts, started well, and just when they were gaining momentum, life hit hard. Dhawal Kulkarni, who was playing his last domestic match continued his exploits on Day 2. He picked three wickets and left Vidarbha reeling for respite. Just when Yash Rathod and Aditya Thakare started to build a partnership, Shams Mulani snared three wickets in the same number of overs. Vidarbha succumbed and handed over a hefty lead of 119 runs to Mumbai.

Mumbai never let their first-innings demons haunt them in the second innings. Their top order came to the party, and with few partnerships here and there, they were in a commanding position. Musheer Khan notched up a century, while the veterans Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer came up with 73 and 95 respectively. As a result, Mumbai provided Vidarbha a Mt. Everest to scale with 547 runs on board.

Vidarbha never seemed mercurial in the chase. One might think that they lacked the gas but their lower order showed some resistance against Mumbai’s repeated blows. The openers could not convert their starts and fell apart. Karun Nair’s 74 showed some promise, but the situation demanded more. Mumbai felt their grip slipping away as Harsh Dubey and Akshay Wadkar kept knocking the leather towards the fence. While Dubey got his fifty, Wadkar managed a century only to see Tanush Kotian bring Mumbai back.

Vidarbha wrapped up their show with 368 runs on board, and Mumbai won their 42nd Ranji Trophy final. 169 runs margin might deceive anyone as smooth sailing for Mumbai. But there were certain topsy-turvy moments in the game, thanks to the fightback from Vidarbha’s middle order.