On this day: The first-class match with the most aggregate runs ends

Haryana Ranji Trophy

Exactly on this day, the 1948/49 Ranji Trophy semi-final between Bombay and Maharashtra ended at the Poona Club Ground. The end of the action in Poona saw the conclusion of the highest aggregate of runs scored in a first-class game as an average of 64.3 runs were scored per wicket. A staggering 2,376 runs were scored including nine hundreds and eight fifties during the run-fest.

A lengthy game was always on the cards those days as the Ranji Trophy games were played in timeless format. As per that format, the game was played as long as a team did not register a clear cut victory. The semifinal between Bombay and Maharashtra lasted for a total of seven days. Bombay skipper Khan Mohammad Ibrahim won the toss and elected to bat first.

Bombay take a crucial lead

His decision turned out to be the right one as Bombay piled up a huge total of 651 runs in almost two days. Madhav Mantri struck a double century while Udaykant Merchant and Dattatraya Phadkar scored 143 and 131 runs respectively. In reply, Maharashtra managed only 407 runs as they conceded a 244-run lead. Their innings still saw two centuries as Manohar Datar (143) and Madhusudan Rege (133) touched the triple-digit mark to ensure their team did not fall behind. For Bombay, KK Tarapore starred with the ball and picked up 6 wickets for 119 runs.

Maharashtra’s innings had ended on day four of the contest. The following three days saw both the teams scoring heavily as they scored more than 600 runs. After bowling out Maharashtra for 407 in the first innings, Bombay piled up 714 for 8 (declared) to all but end their opposition’s chances in the game. Udaykant Merchant and Dattatraya Phadkar followed their first innings hundreds by scoring 156 and 160 runs respectively in the second innings. Captain Ibrahim (59), Khandu Rangnekar (94) and Madan Raiji (75) scored fifties too to pile more misery on Maharashtra.

Maharashtra put up a strong fight

Set an improbable target of 959 runs, Maharashtra came out to bat on the sixth day and their batsmen did well in the second innings although their effort was not enough. Rege (100) scored his second century of the match while Sharad Deodhar (146) reached the triple-digit mark too. There were also three half-centuries from others as Maharashtra posted 604 on the seventh day but lost the game by a huge 354-run margin. It was just the second instance in first-class cricket where more than 2,000 runs were scored. The first instance happened in the 1944/45 Ranji Final between Bombay and Holkar (2078 runs).