Karnataka captain, R Vinay Kumar led his team from the front as he picked up eight wickets in the final © PTI
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Karnataka have won their seventh Ranji Trophy title as they chased down a total of 157 quite easily on the final day in Hyderabad. Although some may say that Karnataka were the clear winners, Maharashtra did have their own moments. To sum up, it was a good game overall and could have been a cracker had Maharashtra not faltered on Day Two. Let us revisit some of the standout moments of the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 final:
Milestones in order
This was a game of many milestones. Firstly, Lokesh Rahul became the second man to get 1,000 runs for the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 season during his splendid innings of 131. Then we had Harshad Khadiwale, the Maharashtra opener overhauling the same mark in the second innings. He hasn’t fired in the knockouts, but was remarkably consistent in the league phase. R Vinay Kumar, the Karnataka captain then scalped his 300th First-Class wicket during the Maharashtra second innings. Thus, it was a game that would be remembered by numerous players, although Rahul and Vinay Kumar would have happier memories when compared to Khadiwale.
Maharashtra drop chances
Maharashtra fought hard on four out of the five days. They largely have themselves to blame for their own predicament as they dropped as many as six chances in Karnataka’s first innings. Lokesh Rahul was dropped on zero and Ganesh Sathish was let-off on five. Both batsmen then survived more scares at various points in the innings, but Maharashtra couldn’t capitalize. The result was for everyone to see as Karnataka finished Day Two at 230 for no loss. On Day Three, they let go another opportunity off Robin Uthappa’s bat, but they did manage to latch on later.
Lokesh Rahul and Ganesh Sathish’s partnership
Notwithstanding the dropped chances, Rahul and Sathish were splendid. While Sathish cut behind point and attacked the spinners, Rahul was at his classy best, the cover-drives standing out. It was a solid partnership otherwise and they did increase pace as the innings progressed. For Sathish, it was an important ton as he has been out of the side for some time and returned into the mix for the final. When his team needed the most, he delivered. Rahul has only enhanced his reputation as one of the most promising young batsmen in Indian domestic cricket.
Kedar Jadhav attacks with “nothing to lose”
Kedar Jadhav has been in great form throughout the season. His strike-rate has been remarkable and when Maharashtra started their second innings 210 runs behind, it was left to him to make an impact. And he did it in some style! Karnataka did help him though as they spread the field out to allow him the easy singles. Even then, he chased deliveries, charged at bowlers, made room and went through with the full flurry of the bat. His ton was up in only 118 balls and it gave Maharashtra a glimmer of hope with a little over a day to go.
What can be more significant than the winning moment! Maharashtra have had a great season, but Karnataka were just too good. This victory has come after 15 long years and this side truly deserves all the accolades. In 2009-10 season, they lost in the final against Mumbai by six runs and eight of those players featured at Hyderabad. Putting all that behind, they have surged ahead to the triumph and it has been a fruit of hard work and great support. Although they had a few fans in the stands, the support staff and the reserves also did their bit to raise the spirits of the side whenever they were down. That is the hallmark of a tight unit!
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)