MP thrash Mumbai to win their first Ranji Trophy title
Madhya Pradesh bested Mumbai by six wickets to win the 2021/22 Ranji Trophy. Notably, MP have won their maiden Ranji Trophy title, having finished as the runner-up in 1998/99. Kumar Kartikeya's 4/98 humbled Mumbai's top and middle order, bundling them out on 269. Himanshu Mantri (37) and Shubham Sharma (30) paved the way in the 108-run chase. Here's more.
Mumbai managed 374 in the first innings after electing to bat. Sarfaraz Khan (134) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (78) were the standout performers. For MP, medium-pacer Gaurav Yadav claimed a four-fer. Later, they annihilated Mumbai's bowling attack to post 536, thereby taking a 162-run lead. Yash Dubey, Shubham Sharma, and Rajat Patidar registered hundreds each. MP wiped their rivals' tail-end and later bossed the show.
MP finished atop the Elite Group A standings. They beat Gujarat by 106 runs and followed with an innings win over Meghalaya. The match against Kerala ended in a draw. MP then trounced Punjab by 10 wickets in the quarter-finals. They scripted a 174-run win versus Bengal in the semi-finals. And lastly, they downed Mumbai in the final.
Patidar went on to compile 122 off 219 deliveries in the first innings. He hit 20 fours during his stay in the middle. He clocked his second ton of the season. He then steered MP home, bashing a composed 30*(37). Patidar amassed 658 runs at 82.25 (five fifties). He finished second only to Sarfaraz Khan in terms of most runs aggregated this season (982).
Sarfaraz smashed 134 off 243 deliveries in the first innings, hitting 13 fours and two sixes. It was one of his clutch knocks in the tournament, given Mumbai were in a spot of bother. Later, he managed a brisk 48-ball 45. Sarfaraz hammered 982 runs this season. He averaged a monstrous 122.75 in the tournament with four hundreds and two fifties.
Sarfaraz's insatiable thirst for runs has been second to none. As per ESPNcricinfo, he has six scores of 150 and more in FC cricket since 2020, which is joint-most alongside ace England batter Joe Root.
It is to note that Sarfaraz has converted seven of his eight FC centuries to a 150-plus score. A look at his eight three-figure scores: 134 vs Madhya Pradesh (2022), 153 vs Uttarakhand (2022), 165 v Odisha (2022), 275 vs Saurashtra (2022), 177 vs Madhya Pradesh (2020), 226* vs Himachal Pradesh (2020), 301* vs UP (2020), and 155 vs Madhya Pradesh (2015).
Sarfaraz has joined Ajay Sharma and Wasim Jaffer as players with over 900 runs in Ranji Trophy on two occasions. As per ESPNcricinfo, he is the first batter to score 900-plus runs in successive seasons of the Ranji Trophy, having aggregated 928 runs in 2019-20.
Shams Mulani had bagged a solitary scalp on Day 3. However, the left-arm orthodox looked far commanding on Day 4. He pocketed four wickets (Parth Sahani, Saransh Jain, Anubhav Agarwal, and Kumar Kartikeya) and swept MP's tail. He also clocked his sixth five-fer (5/173) of the season and later claimed three wickets. He snared 45 scalps this season at 16.75.
Dubey managed a hundred early on but was dismissed cheaply in the second innings. He couldn't have asked for a better occasion to slam a ton, given he had a string of poor performances before. He willed himself to a stupendous 336-ball 133 laced with 14 fours. It was his second ton of the season. He finished the season with 614 runs at 76.75.
Shubham Sharma had slammed a ton in the quarter-final against Punjab. He rose to the occasion in the final too, cracking his fourth ton of the season. The right-handed batter scored 116 off 215 deliveries in the first innings, hitting 15 fours and a six. He followed with 30(75) to ease up the run-chase. Sharma compiled 608 runs this season at 76.00 (one fifty).
Mumbai have won the Ranji Trophy on a record 41 occasions. They are the most successful side in the tourney. They last won a title in 2015-16. They have been the runner-up on six occasions, including the recent 2021-22 defeat to MP.