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Bahutule spin gives Mumbai 35th title
- Badani ton in vain as over-cautious TN lose Ranji final by 141 runs

Mumbai: A five-wicket haul by leg-spinner Sairaj Bahutule on Thursday saw Mumbai beat Tamil Nadu by 141 runs to claim the Ranji Trophy for a record 35th time. On the fifth and concluding day, Tamil Nadu, resuming at their overnight second innings score of 102 for three, failed to put up a fight despite a stylish 109 by Hemang Badani. The visitors, chasing a target of 377, were all out for 235, about half an hour before tea.

Mumbai had last won the trophy in 1999-2000, beating Hyderabad at the same venue.

Tamil Nadu, who had taken a slender 11-run first innings lead after bowling out the hosts for 260, needed 275 runs for victory when they came out to bat on Thursday with seven second innings wickets intact.

Like in the first innings, the visitors went on the defensive too much and paid the penalty, losing wickets at regular intervals.

First to go was S. Badrinath. After making a patient 20 off 86 balls and adding 59 runs with Badani, he played forward to a rearing turner from Ramesh Powar, to be held by Vinayak Mane at short leg.

Left hander S. Sharath played just one good drive off Ajit Agarkar before padding up to a googly from Bahutule. He was adjudged leg before for nine.

M.R. Srinivas hung in for sometime after facing 59 balls in his 84-minutes stay at the wicket. With Srinivas withdrawing into a shell, the pressure came back on the visitors especially with Mumbai skipper Paras Mhambrey making regular bowling changes.

After making just four runs, Srinivas was trapped leg before by Avishkar Salvi. Then J. Gokulakrishnan pulled Powar straight to Nishit Shetty at mid-wicket for five.

At the other end, Badani was going great guns, playing some delectable shots against both medium pacers and spinners. Badani used the reverse sweep to perfection and the way he used the shot on a turning track at times resembled Andy Flower. In fact, he moved from 96 to 100 with a reverse sweep off Sairaj Bahutule.

With wickets falling at regular intervals, Badani fought a lone battle.

After a marathon 326 minutes of batting, Badani, who had been very cautious in the morning, going scoreless for 24, was caught by Shetty at long off off Bahutule. Badaniís 109 came off 220 balls. L. Balaji remained not out on three while last man D. Dhandapani was caught by Mane at short leg off Bahutule.

The visitors failed to take advantage of Mumbaiís poor catching in the morning. First, Mane caught Srinivas at first slip off Salvi but umpire Vijay Chopra consulted partner Narendra Menon and turned down the appeal.

Then, Powar dropped Raaju off his own bowling and Mane dropped Balaji off the first ball he faced off Bahutule. But these misses did not prove costly for the hosts as the Tamil Nadu batsmen failed to take advantage.

For Mumbai, it was the spinners who did the trick in the second innings. This, despite Mhambrey claiming the second new ball soon after the 80th over with the score at 191 for five.

Bahutule, who had taken three wickets in the first innings, finished with eight for 129 while Ajit Agarkar, who had taken four for 57 in the first, had match figures of five for 101.

Powar bowled well in the second innings, after going wicketless in the first, to finish with two for 57 while Mhambrey, who took two for 36 in the first essay, had match figures of three for 56.

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