However, Mumbai’s victory was extra special for Dhawal Kulkarni and wicketkeeper Aditya Tare. Medium-pacer Kulkarni, who picked up 4-24 in the first innings and 5-32 in the second essay, registered his best effort in a first-class match after returning figures of 9-56 yesterday.
Tare claimed the season’s most dismissals — a record 41 (39 catches and two stumpings) when he caught Unadkat off skipper Ajit Agarkar. Jaydev Shah & Co, who were bowled out for 148 in their first innings, dramatically collapsed and folded up for just 82 in 36.3 overs — the third lowest total in Ranji final — while chasing Mumbai’s first innings score of 355. “I was quite surprised the way Saurashtra batted in the second innings. We didn’t expect that,” said Agarkar, who claimed 4-15 in his nine overs yesterday.
Agarkar bowled an impeccable line and length that troubled Saurashtra batsmen from the very beginning. First to depart was veteran Sitanshu Kotak (0), who chased an away going delivery on the leg-side as wicketkeeper Tare took a brilliant diving catch.
Sagar Jogiyani (0) was dismissed in an identical fashion in the second innings as well edging a simple catch to Tare. Dhawal Kulkarni too got into the act, dismissing Rahul Dave (5) at slips as Saurashtra were now reduced to three for five.
Aarpit Vasavada was the third Saurashtra batsman to have been dismissed for nought after the Mumbai skipper was lucky to get an lbw in his favour. Jaydev Shah was expected to lead from the front, but he was done in by a Kulkarni beauty that knocked down his middle stump. Saurashtra were tottering on 11-4.
All hopes of revival were crushed when Sheldon Jackson (756 in nine matches) failed to read a length delivery from Kulkarni that crashed into his stumps.
Jackson (9) was the sixth wicket to fall, but still no batsman reached double figures for Saurashtra.
Just when Kamlesh Makvana (7) and Saurya Sanandiya seemed to show some resistance, Abhishek Nayar managed to force an outside edge from the former while Hiken Shah made no mistake at first slip.