|Karnataka players and support staff after their win, in Hyderabad, on Sunday
Hyderabad: Favourites Karnataka deservedly won their seventh Ranji Trophy title after beating a spirited Maharashtra side by seven wickets on the fifth and concluding day of the final match here on Sunday.
Chasing a modest target of 157 in little over two sessions, Karnataka batsmen reached the destination with ease as they knocked off the runs in 40.5 overs.
Robin Uthappa (36), KL Rahul (29) and Amit Verma (38) made useful contributions as Karnataka made amends for their disappointing six-run loss during the 2009-10 final against Mumbai.
Young opener Rahul was awarded the Man of the Match for his century in the first innings while Karnataka were richer by Rs 2 crore.
Maharashtra earned a purse of Rs 1 crore but what would be more disappointing is the fact that they couldn’t break their more than seven decade long jinx of not being able to win the national title. They last won the title in 1940-41.
But one needs to laud Maharashtra for trying to make a match of it despite being down and out by the second day itself.
Starting the final day at 272 for six, Maharashtra’s tail wagged as they scored 366 with Shrikant Mundhe contributing 42 off 75 balls.
The target of 157 was never going to be a tall-order for Karnataka with huge depth in their batting. Although Maharashtra seamer Samad Fallah initially asked some questions but Uthappa hit a flurry of boundaries to help Karnataka stay firmly on course.
A pleased captain R Vinay Kumar, who also completed 300 wickets in first-class cricket said that it was nothing compared to lifting the Ranji Trophy.
“Ranji Trophy is bigger than individual achievements (300 wickets). We all worked very hard for this, with the support staff and it’s an amazing moment. We’ve been doing well for many years but we couldn’t win in 2009-10 and then made the quarter finals but couldn’t go further.
“So we wanted to win it this time and I am pleased with the superb team effort. Most of the players are around 25-26 years and they all want to play for the country, they all aim big and are doing well.
“Lifting the Ranji Trophy is a great honour and I’d like to thank my teammates for that, ” said Vinay Kumar. (PTI)