My most thrilling Ranji Trophy encounter
After Mumbai qualified for the knockout stages, former Mumbai stalwarts relate their most exciting matches in the Ranji Trophy
Raju Kulkarni (Ex-captain)
The 1984-85 Ranji Trophy final against Delhi at the Wankhede Stadium was the best game I played. Our opponents took a 65-run lead after we scored 333. On the fourth day when Delhi was set to win the final on the basis of their first innings lead, Kirti Azad asked Ravi whether we had polished the Ranji Trophy since Delhi would be taking it home the next day.
This caused some emphatic laughter amongst Kirti’s Delhi teammates. On the final day, Sunny (Sunil Gavaskar) who was leading us couldn’t be at the ground since he was unwell, so Ravi had to lead us. Just before taking the field, Ravi delivered a very inspirational speech and he mentioned what Kirti had said to him.
We were all charged up and Ravi claimed eight wickets to bowl out Delhi for 209 for a 90-run win. Sunny phoned us at the ground to express his delight and despite being unwell, invited us to his residence for a small celebration. I enjoyed that victory which came in a Ranji final against Delhi as well as the soft drink at Sunny’s house.
Kirti Azad asked Ravi Shastri whether we (Mumbai) had polished the Ranji Trophy since Delhi would be taking it home
Karsan Ghavri (Ex-all-rounder)
The Mumbai vs Haryana semi-final at Rohtak in the 1979-80 season will be etched in my memory forever. It was a low-scoring game, played on one of the toughest wickets to bat on. It was like a wrestling pit. We managed only 143 in the first innings and bowled out Haryana for just 68.
Paddy Shivalkar got five while I claimed three. In our second innings, spinners Sarkar Talwar and Rajinder Goel bowled us out for 150, but Haryana had to get 226 runs to win. We cleared them up for 111. Paddy (Shivalkar) claimed four wickets while Ravi (Shastri) and me two each. It was a special victory because we won outright.
Milind Rege (Ex-captain)
The most thrilling Ranji Trophy game I was involved has to be the 1970-71 final against Chandu Borde’s Maharashtra at the Brabourne Stadium. Our 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (Ashok Mankad, Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar, Eknath Solkar and Dilip Sardesai) were in the West Indies with the Indian team and we had a young side whose average age was 24-25 under Sudhir Naik.
Three to four players made their debut that season. Maharashtra had to get 254 to win and we bowled them out for 205 (left-arm spinner Paddy Shivalkar claimed six for 56) after tea on the fifth day. That was my most memorable game.