The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Best final I have seen: Pandit

Mumbai: Former India gloveman and Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit said on Thursday that the Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Tamil Nadu, which his side won by 141 runs, was the best he had witnessed.

Speaking to reporters, Pandit said: “I am impressed by the way the boys fought, their fight-back after losing their way to be all out for 260 in the first innings. When we restricted Tamil Nadu to 271 runs, I told the boys to go all out for an outright win and ultimately we achieved it.

“I am more than satisfied with the performance of the team under Paras Mhambrey, who is a very intelligent captain. It was totally a team effort with every player doing his bit for the success of the team”.

Pandit also praised Tamil Nadu batsman Hemang Badani’s knock in the second innings. “Hats off to Badani for the way he played in the second innings. It was truly a fine century and I for one was really worried when he was going great guns. But cricket is a funny game and luckily for us he did not get proper support from his teammates and we came out triumphant.”

Praising former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, also chairman of the Mumbai selection committee, Pandit said, “Dilip contributed immensely for the success of the team by picking the right players and giving me a free hand to deal with the team.”

Mumbai skipper Mhambrey said, “Though we won the toss on the opening day, we lost the initiative when we were bowled out for 260.

“I thought the bowlers, especially Ajit Agarkar and Sairaj Bahutule, bowled exceptionally well to restrict Tamil Nadu to 271. Then Nishit Shetty, Wasim Jaffer and Bhavin Thakkar along with Ramesh Powar batted very well to put us in a sound position, from where we never looked back,” he said.

Praising the efforts of his team and their coach, Vengsarkar said: “Chandu’s efforts and commitment was very good and I think Paras led from the front, which made a huge difference to the fortunes of Mumbai cricket”.

A crest-fallen Badani said, “I am really disappointed that we lost though I tried my level best. I would have been happier if the team had won but we lost our way chasing 275 after we resumed the day with seven wickets still intact.”

The Maharashtra Cricket Association announced a cash award of Rs 6 lakh while the Board of Control for Cricket in India will give Rs 3.5 lakh for the winning team. (PTI)

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