Railways wins Ranji Trophy
Railways, the ugly duckling in Indian domestic cricket, won the Ranji Trophy
for the second time in three years
. They beat Punjab on first innings lead.
Railways batted solidly in the first innings but couldnt make a really big score with several players getting out when set. Punjab's reply was disastrous, reduced to 174/6. Skipper Dharmani tried his best along with the tailenders but Railways got the vital first innings lead thanks to Jai Prakash Yadav cleaning up the lower order. From that point onwards, all Railways needed to do to win the trophy was to ensure that they batted long enough. At 31/2, it seemed as though Punjab had a semblance of a chance to come back into the game. They were thwarted by skipper Bangar who was his typical dour self and JP Yadav, who batted with a lot of flair to take the game away
from Punjab. He was unlucky to miss out on a well deserved century. Yere Goud then ensured that the game was firmly in Railways' grasp when he coaxed lots of runs out of the tail and scored his century to set Punjab 518 to win in two sessions on the final day. Obviously Punjab were never going for the win and after some early scares, the match ended in a draw. Intikhab Alam's first season as coach
ended promisingly and I am fairly sure the PCA will renew his contract, if he wants it to be.
Punjab were hampered by the absence of Dinesh Mongia, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh while Murali Kartik was absent for Railways. Domestic cricket was hampered by the absence of any spectators. The least any board can do is to ensure that its premier domestic tournament is played at a time when both finalists can field their best sides. Then again, when the final is not even shown on TV because the decision on who can telecast
is still in limbo, doesnt it show how much the board values domestic cricket? It maybe recalled that the Challenger Series
was not shown live
either, for the same reasons.