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Rest win Irani title after rain keeps players indoors

For four days,the Irani Cup — touted as the battle involving the best in Indian domestic cricket — provided little or no action for the few....

Written by Bharat Sundaresan | Nagpur |
October 6, 2009 9:31:45 am

For four days,the Irani Cup — touted as the battle involving the best in Indian domestic cricket — provided little or no action for the few who bothered to turn up at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) stadium in Nagpur. The bowling — apart from brief bursts of energy by Munaf Patel and Sreesanth — proved to be lacklustre on both sides,while the batting was tedious and lacked spark.

Perhaps it was fitting then that the contest — after innumerable pitch inspections by on-field umpires Shavir Tarapore and Amiesh Saheba — ended in anti-climatic fashion as Rest of India (ROI) lifted the Irani Cup on the basis of their first-innings lead after play was called off without a single ball being bowled due to a wet outfield. ROI managed only 260,thanks largely to 77 from Ravindra Jadeja,in their first innings after captain Virender Sehwag won the toss on a VCA pitch that looked to field no demons.

Led by Munaf,their fast bowlers restricted defending Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai to 230 to ensure a 30-run lead for their team,which proved enough for their fourth successive Irani Cup title. The Tamil Nadu duo of Vijay and Mukund then shut out the contest with a 227-run partnership in the second innings as ROI cruised to 352 for 4. Manoj Tiwary,who remained unbeaten on 80,would consider him unlucky though as rains on the final day washed away his chances of scoring his 10 th first-class century.

ROI vice-captain Subramanian Badrinath insisted that shot-making had been difficult. “The ball wasn’t coming onto the bat and it wasn’t easy to play your shots. The Mumbai bowlers also bowled in good areas and it was great to see young Mukund apply himself so well,” he said.

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Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer considered the spell from Sreesanth and Munaf with the second new-ball crucial.

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