Making of history: UP win Ranji Trophy | india | Hindustan Times
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Making of history: UP win Ranji Trophy

Mohammed Kaif led team won on the basis of its first innings performance, stopping Bengal agonisingly short of the mammoth target.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2006 13:48 IST

It was surprising to see that spectator turnout at the KD Singh Babu Stadium for the Ranji Trophy final was the highest on the final day because there was practically nothing left in the match as a contest.

The roar that filled the air once Mohammad Kaif became the first Uttar Pradesh captain in history to lift the trophy a little after 4.30 pm on Thursday swept all the surprise away from the minds of those not familiar with this place.

It was the biggest moment in the history of UP cricket, probably bigger than the fact that three of their players are in the Indian one-day squad. And they had to be present to see their favourite son accomplish mission before boarding the plane to Pakistan.

UP won on the basis of what they had done a day earlier when they had stopped Bengal agonisingly short of their first innings total. Crushing the faint chance of an outright win the hosts set up a mammoth target.

The optimist in the Bengal camp had sensed an opening when Kaif followed Suresh Raina back to the pavilion in the 16th over of the day. The young pillars of this UP team had achieved personal landmarks by then and fell while going for quick runs.

UP were 264 runs ahead at that stage and Bengal’s hopes of chasing something around 300 in about 60 overs were then put to rest by Amir Khan and Rizwan Samshad. The youngster and the veteran added 65 runs but more importantly stayed in the middle for 25 overs which made sure there was no anti-climax.

When Bengal did manage to bowl out the home team, over an hour after lunch, they had 43 overs to score 357 runs. They showed positive intentions in the beginning but pulled the shutter down after losing five wickets.

Opening bowler Praveen Kumar did all the damage which made him the second highest wicket taker this season with 41 — one behind Mumbai off-spinner Ramesh Powar. Bengal off-spinner Sourasish Lahiri finished third on 39.

The feature of Bengal’s second innings, which was an academic affair for all practical purposes, was the intensity shown by the UP fielders. They could afford to be slow while chasing balls or be relaxed instead of throwing themselves to stop meaningless fours. But this couldn’t be the character of a team led by Kaif, who leads by example.

Having begun their campaign with a defeat against Haryana in Kanpur, UP became a different team after Kaif joined them for the last four matches including the final. For a team with limited resources, what UP achieved is phenomenal. Their medium-pacers were ineffective on this pitch and they had just one spinner in Piyush Chawla. But Kaif’s cricketing intelligence to make optimum use of resources and his innate ability to energise all around while fielding made a world of difference.

He has now led his teams to all domestic titles and the facts that UP won the CK Nayudu Trophy (national under-22 meet final against Bengal) this season and their players are the captain and vice-captain of the Indian under-19 team show what Kaif Effect is.

For Bengal, it was a story of opportunities lost and it showed on their gloomy faces and blank eyes some of which had tears in them.

Scoreboard

Uttar Pradesh 1st innings: 387

Bengal 1st innings: 373

Uttar Pradesh 2nd innings: P Kumar c A Das b Bose 15, SK Shukla lbw b Paul 56, Kaif c sub b Bose 109, Raina st Dasgupta b Singh 52, Amir lbw b Lahiri 28, Shamshad lbw b Lahiri 33, Chawla c Das b Lahiri 0, Jyoti P Yadav st Dasgupta b Singh 20, Pandey run out 0, Srivastava not out 3, Zaidi c sub b Singh 0

Extras (b-9, lb-8, w-1, nb-8) 26

Total (in 129.5 overs) 342

Fall of wkts: 1-25, 2-136, 3-231, 4-250, 5-315, 6-315, 7-318, 8-321, 9-342.

Bowling: Paul 26-4-71-1, Bose 15-4-60-2, Lahiri 47-7-119-3, Singh 39.5-15-69-3, Tiwary 2-0-6-0,

Bengal 2nd innings (target: 357 runs): Lahiri c Amir b Kumar 3, Das c & b Kumar 32, Jhunjhunwala c Zaidi b Kumar 0, Gavaskar c Yadav b Kumar 5, Shukla retired hurt 6, Tiwary c Shamshad b Kumar 1, A Das not out 37, Dasgupta not out 20

Extras (w-1, nb-4) 5

Total (for 5 wkts) 109

Fall of wkts: 1-4, 2-4, 3-19, 4-39, 5-54.

Bowling: Srivastava 6-1-30-0, Kumar 9-0-33-5, Chawla 9-1-23-0, Zaidi 7-2-19-0, Raina 2-0-4-0

Result: UP win on first inns lead