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Mumbai thrash UP to win 38th title

Mumbai asserted their supremacy by thrashing UP by a huge 243-run margin and clinching the Ranji Trophy title for a record 38th time in Hyderabad, reports G Krishnan.

cricket Updated: Jan 17, 2009 01:24 IST
G Krishnan

Mumbai lifted the Ranji Trophy for the 38th time in 75 years, to claim the position of the number one team in the country. With this, Mumbai have won the title one time more than all the other winners put together.

Having made the Ranji Trophy final a one-sided affair, first-time captain Wasim Jaffer's side ended the tournament without a defeat, though they came close to tasting one in the League phase against Saurashtra.

Chasing an improbable target of 525 in a maximum of 90 overs, Uttar Pradesh were bowled out for 281 in the first over after the tea break, to hand Mumbai a 243-run win. As for Md Kaif's side, it finished second best in the final for the second straight year.

It was a sweet victory for Mumbai after their pride had taken a beating when they failed to make the knockouts last season. The selectors handed over the captaincy to Wasim Jaffer while coach Praveen Amre was retained. Planning began with the Buchi Babu tournament in Chennai in August. They identified the combinations that they thought would work in the Ranji Trophy.

Mumbai were unshakable throughout the season, playing with purpose as they sought to reclaim the title. The only team that looked like possessing the firepower to challenge Mumbai were Tamil Nadu, but they were eliminated by UP in the semis.

While there have been many who have contributed to the team's successful run till the final, Mumbai are hugely indebted to India pacer Zaheer Khan for helping them regain the title while Rohit Sharma proved his mettle with two stylish centuries. But it was Zaheer's seven first innings wickets following Sharma's fighting partnership with Abhishek Nayar that turned the match.

UP, who dominated just one session in the game — the pre-lunch session on the opening day when they had Mumbai at 55 for four, were otherwise not in the reckoning.

Required to score at nearly 6 an over on the final day, UP lost wickets regularly. Mumbai did not push hard. Wickets fell because of the batsmen's mistakes as they went for the shots.

Dhawal Kulkarni, the medium-pacer who sticks to a steady, wicket-to-wicket line, ended his maiden Ranji season with his fourth five-wicket haul. Barring Kaif and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, both of whom scored half-centuries and the late resistance by Md Amir Khan and Praveen Gupta, UP did little to trouble Mumbai.

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