Rajasthan overshadow giants to win maiden Ranji Trophy title (Lead)

January 15th, 2011 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Baroda, Jan 15 (IANS) Rajasthan won their maiden Ranji Trophy title with a dominating victory over Baroda at the Moti Bagh stadium here Saturday.Baroda, chasing a target of 375 runs on the fifth and final day after Rajasthan were bowled out for 341, were 28 for four when both captains decided to shake hands, sparking celebration among Rajasthan players.

Rajasthan, who made 394 in the first innings and bowled out Baroda for 361, won on the basis of their first innings lead.

After his good performance in the first innings, young fast bowler Deepak Chahar turned up the heat in the second innings taking three Baroda wickets, extracting menacing swing and bounce from the fifth day track. Chahar finished with a match haul of seven wickets.

It was a sensational performance by Rajasthan, who came from the plate group, shocked 39-times winner and defending champions Mumbai in the quarter-final and beat favourites Tamil Nadu in the semifinal.

Chahar, who made a dream debut this season taking eight wickets in an innings and bowling out Hyderabad for the lowest team total of 21 runs, played a major role in Rajasthan’s victory. The 18-year-old took 40 wickets in nine matches (avg-21.17) and formed a lethal combination with more experienced Pankaj Singh, who claimed 43 wickets (avg-21.74)

Also, three veterans of domestic cricket — Aakash Chopra, Hrisikesh Kanitkar and Rashmi Parida — who were roped in from other states to lend solidity to Rajasthan batting played their part to perfection.

Kanitkar led with example scoring 744 runs in nine matches with four centuries and two half-centuries. Chopra, who left Delhi this season, contributed 734 runs, including an unbeaten triple century against Maharashtra.

Bhubaneswar’s Parida, who was declared the man-of-the-match of the final, racked up 607 runs.

Kanitkar, who played for Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra before switching to Rajasthan this season, was elated with the win.

“I really can’t believe we have achieved this. It is something special. I have played much cricket, but this is certainly one of the highlights of my career,” said the skipper.

“It was an honour to play with these guys. It is more satisfying that we played well as a team. It is a big achievement for us. The strength for us that we played as a team. Even the players who did not play in the final contributed in a big way in the earlier matches,” said Kanitkar.

In the final against Baroda, Rajasthan were in control of the final right from the start, scoring 394 in the first innings and bowling out the hosts for 361 for the crucial lead.

The only time they were in trouble was when Baroda, spurred by some brilliant bowling by paceman Murtuja Vahora (4-94), reduced them to 11 for three in the second innings.

But Rajasthan found the saviour in Parida (89) and Ashok Menaria (101), who shared 165 runs for the fifth wicket to take the game away from Baroda.

Rajasthan were 234 runs ahead of Baroda Friday, making sure they complete the formalities of historic win on the fifth and final day.

Resuming their overnight unbeaten stand, Parida and Menaria added another 25 runs before the latter was dismissed after completing a match-winning century. Parida, who scored 56 in the first innings, soon joined him in the dressing room. The tail stuck on valiantly with wicket-keeper Rohit Jhalani (43 not out) and pacer Pankaj Singh (24) and taking the score past 300.

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