Heartbreak for bravehearts

Mumbai beat Karnataka by 6 runs to lift Ranji Trophy

Heartbreak for bravehearts


A gripping fourth day at the Gangotri Glades here on Thursday ended in delight for the visitors and complete despair for the home team, backed by a massively vociferous holiday crowd that was entertained to a spectacular batting feast by Manish Pandey.
Clearly one for the future at just 20 years of age, Pandey’s fourth century of the season carried Karnataka to the brink of victory, but 338 proved a few too many as Mumbai pulled off a six-run victory that gave them their 39th Ranji Trophy title and the winners’ purse of Rs 2 crore.

Bowled out for 331, Karnataka will receive half that amount, though they were anything but half of Mumbai during three and a half rivetting days. For a young side with only one player – Sunil Joshi –– having previous experience of a Ranji final, Karnataka could so easily have rolled over, but they fought all the way like tigers, and whilst they were defeated, they were hardly disgraced.

“Obviously, the boys will understandably be gutted just now, but I think it is a fantastic achievement for a very young team to make the final in the first place and to be so competitive in the title clash,” Rahul Dravid, who masterminded the team’s entry into the title round, told Deccan Herald from Chittagong. “I am sure they will be better off for this experience, though obviously it would have been great had we won.”

Every single one of Pandey’s hundreds this season has come in pressure situations, each a stunning compilation made with authority, grace and audacity. In his first full season, the classy right-hander finished with a country-high 882 runs, even if his exceptional 144 in the most difficult circumstances imaginable on Thursday proved just inadequate.
Another 20-year-old, in his first season, too put his hand up in spectacular fashion. The rangy Abhimanyu Mithun, fast and furious, took 47 wickets to edge out R Vinay Kumar (46) to the leading wicket-taker’s spot, and it won’t be long before he too graduates to the higher league.

No strangers to glory at the domestic level, Mumbai hardly covered themselves in glory with their unruly behaviour throughout the match, and their unwarranted volatile celebrations after sealing the game. Magnanimity in victory might have been conspicuous by its absence, but Karnataka showed great dignity in a tearful defeat that should act as a stepping stone to a brighter future.

DH News Service

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