Of the three Ranji Trophy finals I played in, the 1984-85 one at the Wankhede Stadium is most memorable for me. Our opponents were the spiky Delhi team led by S Madan Lal, while Bombay were led by Sunil Gavaskar. The vital first innings lead was conceded but if there was ever an example that a Ranji final is not about the first innings lead, it was this one.
Enduring a 65-run deficit, Bombay declared their second innings at 364 for seven to set Delhi a target of 300. Chetan Chauhan and Manoj Prabhakar put on 95 for the first wicket and that turned out to be the most productive partnership of the innings because Ravi Shastri bowled a tsunami-like spell of eight for 91 and bundled Delhi out for 209.
Ravi Shastri. Pic/ midday archives
We needed a miracle to beat Delhi and Ravi performed that miracle. Sure, he was on a high after being adjudged Champion of Champions in the World Championship of Cricket just the previous month in Australia, but till then, Ravi was only a great contributor. This game projected him as an impact performer. We saw that desire in his eyes.
I mention tsunami again, a tsunami that just swept the opposition away. I'll compare this to Shane Warne's unbelievable spell which he bowled against the West Indies to propel Australia into the 1996 World Cup final.
Bombay's 1984-85 Ranji win was because of Ravi's spell. I heard a story about Kirti Azad asking Ravi on Day Four if the trophy was polished as Delhi would be taking it home the following day. Ravi and Bombay had the last laugh. We won by 90 runs.
Mumbai's very best cricketers will recall their memorable Ranji Trophy finals for mid-day readers right till the last day of the Mumbai vs Saurashtra Ranji Trophy final in Pune (Feb 24-28).