Gwalior: Rest of India’s bowling unit performed like a well-oiled machine as the team thrashed Madhya Pradesh by 238 runs to retain the prestigious Irani Cup here on Sunday.
Chasing a near-impossible 437 for victory, MP were bowled out for 198 in 58.4 overs as the match ended during the opening session of the fifth day.
With the so-called result-oriented and under-prepared pitches for the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy receiving a lot of flak, the Gwalior track was a throwback to the days when there used to be help for every department of the game.
There were four tons scored in the match, 40 wickets fell and pacers and spinners had equal say during the course of the game.
A case in point is the MP second innings where the pacers and spinners shared five wickets apiece.
Seamers Mukesh Kumar (2/34), Atit Sheth (2/37) and Navdeep Saini (1/34) blew away the MP top-order while off spinner Pulkit Narang (2/27) and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar (3/60) took advantage of the deteriorating surface to mop up the lower middle-order and tail.
In the morning, MP skipper Himanshu Mantri (51) got a raw deal from umpire Rohan Pandit, who raised his finger when the batter hadn’t actually nicked one behind the stumps.
MP lost wickets at regular intervals as first-innings centurion Yash Dubey got a lethal in cutter from Mukesh Kumar and was cleaned up in the process.
There was no let-up in intensity from Rest of India bowlers and MP didn’t even have the remotest chance to make a match of it.
For the RoI team, made up of mainly India A players, Yashasvi Jaiswal with 357 runs across two innings (213 and 144) was the showstopper.
“If I would have remained not out (on Day 1) I would have gotten a 300 and that would have been better,” Jaiswal said after the match.
He praised opener Abhimanyu Easwaran (154), with whom he shared a triple hundred plus stand.
“I had an experienced partner in Easwaran and it was amazing to bat alongside him,” the southpaw said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Another good news was Navdeep Saini bowling 29 overs across two innings at a brisk pace.
Easwaran also showed why he is rated highly among the Gen-Next openers. The only aspect that people tend to criticise him for is his inability to deliver in pressure games for Bengal.
There have been eight knockout games (quarterfinals, semifinals and final) across the three red ball seasons that Bengal have played but the Team India contender didn’t make a mark in the matches which mattered.