Mumbai, chasing a record-extending 42nd Ranji Trophy title, will take on Madhya Pradesh in the final of the 2021-’22 season beginning at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Both teams delivered strong performances in their respective semifinal matches, with Mumbai edging out Uttar Pradesh on first innings lead and Madhya Pradesh defeating Bengal by 174 runs.
Mumbai have been dominant this season and showcased their batting might time and again. With Prithvi Shaw as skipper, the 41-time champions have arguably the strongest batting order at their disposal alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal, Armaan Jaffer and Sarfaraz Khan – who is the highest run-scorer so far this season.
In terms of bowling, it is left-arm spinner Shams Mulani who has led the way for Mumbai and is the highest wicket-taker so far this season. The 25-year-old has been a strong all-round pillar for his side and got the job done along with the likes of Dhawal Kulkarni, Tushar Deshpande, Tanush Kotian and Mohit Awasthi.
For a side that has dominated this tournament over its history, Mumbai haven’t had the best recent run. They last played in a Ranji Trophy final in the 2016-’17 season and last won the title the year before that. They are back in the title clash, led by a stalwart in Amol Muzumdar from the coaching side of things. Now, they face a formidable opponent in Madhya Pradesh, who are coached by another familiar name in Mumbai cricket.
Chandrakant Pandit, perhaps the finest domestic Indian coach of this generation, tasted immense success as player and coach for Mumbai. He then guided Vidarbha as coach to the Ranji Trophy-Irani Cup double not long ago, and has now led MP to their first Ranji final in 23 years. Also, it was Pandit who was the captain of the side the last time MP reached the Ranji final.
Led by Aditya Shrivastava, who played a crucial knock for his team in the semifinal, MP will be confident of getting the better of Mumbai with Pandit in their setup. They too have had a dominant season and are unbeaten.
Keeper-opener Himanshu Mantri scored a big century for them in the semifinal. Rajat Patidar, who was impressive for RCB in the IPL 2022 playoffs, Yash Dubey and Shubham Sharma have been mainstays with the bat.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kumar Kartikeya, or mystery spinner as he considers himself to be, has been the standout bowler for MP this season. He bagged an eight-wicket match haul in the semis and is only behind Mumbai’s Mulani in the list of highest wicket-takers this season. Gaurav Yadav too has been impressive and MP will need the right-arm medium pacer to step up in the final.
Road to the final
Elite Group D match against Saurashtra – Match drawn, Mumbai won on first innings lead
Elite Group D match against Goa – Mumbai won by 119 runs
Elite Group D match against Odisha – Mumbai won by an innings and 108 runs
Quarterfinal match against Uttarakhand – Mumbai won by 725 runs (all-time first-class record)
Semifinal match against Uttar Pradesh – Match drawn, Mumbai won on first innings lead
Elite Group A match against Gujarat – MP won by 106 runs
Elite Group A match against Meghalaya – MP won by an innings and 301 runs
Elite Group A match against Kerala – Match drawn with first innings incomplete
Quarterfinal match against Punjab – MP won by 10 wickets
Semifinal match against Bengal – MP won by 174 runs
Ranji Trophy 2021-’22: Key performers for the finalists
Most runs for Mumbai
Most wickets for Mumbai
Most runs for Madhya Pradesh
Most wickets for Madhya Pradesh
MP coach Chandrakant Pandit: “Amol knows exactly how I think and what my cricketing philosophy is. Vice versa, I have more than a fair idea of how he would go about his job. The Mumbai cricketing philosophy is deeply ingrained in us. We have both learnt it the hard way. I am from Mumbai and in Mumbai, we only call it a good season when we win Ranji Trophy. Anything less than that is considered poor. This is the same M Chinnaswamy Stadium where MP lost the Ranji final to Karnataka under my captaincy. This has to be divine intervention that after 23 years, I am here with MP team for a Ranji final.”— via PTI
Mumbai coach Amol Muzumdar: “This generation [of Mumbai cricketers] has been fantastic. I keep telling them if you keep working on your game, the world is your oyster. There’s no looking back. Look at the opportunity. It’s been wonderful working with them, [and] just shaping them. Seeing them grow gives me immense pleasure. We haven’t looked at the quarter-finals or the semi-finals or the finals. There are systems that are working in the dressing room, and we would like to follow that till the last ball is bowled in the Ranji Trophy season. That was our commitment at the start of the season.”— via ESPNCricinfo
Mumbai: Prithvi Shaw (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Armaan Jaffer, Suved Parkar, Sarfaraz Khan, Hardik Tamore (w), Shams Mulani, Tanush Kotian, Dhawal Kulkarni, Tushar Deshpande, Mohit Avasthi, Aditya Tare, Royston Dias, Sairaj Patil, Prashant Solanki, Dhrumil Matkar, Arjun Tendulkar, Aakarshit Gomel, Sachin Yadav, Siddharth Raut, Shashank Attarde, Bhupen Lalwani, Aman Hakim Khan.
Madhya Pradesh: Yash Dubey, Himanshu Mantri (w), Shubham S Sharma, Rajat Patidar, Aditya Shrivastava (c), Akshat Raghuwanshi, Saransh Jain, Puneet Datey, Anubhav Agarwal, Kumar Kartikeya, Gaurav Yadav, Ishwar Pandey, Rameez Khan, Mihir Hirwani, Parth Sahani, Ajay Rohera, Kuldeep Sen, Arshad Khan, Rakesh Thakur.
The Ranji Trophy 2021-’22 final between Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh is a five-day match and will begin at 9.30 am IST on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. The match will be broadcast live on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD and the Disney+Hotstar app in India.