Rajasthan’s road-to-final in Ranji Trophy 2011-2012
Winning Ranji Trophy in 2010-2-11 season was an unprecedented feat for the Rajasthan Team as they won their first Ranji Trophy title and what made it more remarkable was the fact that it was the first time in the history of Ranji Trophy that a plate league team had went on to win the Ranji Trophy. Despite winning the 2010-2011 Ranji Trophy, the Rajasthan Team was still deemed as an underdog in this year Ranji season. In fact, Rajasthan’s performance in the first few matches in this year’s Ranji season was tantalizingly tepid and at one point it seemed as if the team would be relegated to the plate group again. There were murmurs that last year’s Ranji title was a mere fluke.
Rajasthan conceded the first innings lead to the opposition in their first five matches against Karnataka, Mumbai, Railways, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab. Against Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, they had to follow-on and their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals were as good as over. The only bright spot on the landscape was the fact that they didn’t lose any of those five matches outrightly and there was a glimmer of hope that if they win two of their last matches outrightly and other equations fall in their favour, they might just secure a berth in the knock-outs. Barring the first innings against Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan’s batsmen had done reasonably well with Robin Bisht, Vineet Saxena and Aakash Chopra piling up mountain or runs. It was primarily the bowling which was the cause of Rajasthan’s predicament this season.
Rajasthan’s resurgence started on 13th December when they took the field to play against Saurashtra. The whole team pitched in a towering performance and galloped home by 229 runs. That was the moment of epiphany for Rajasthan as they started believing that they still have an outside chance to qualify for the knock-outs. Sumit Mathur’s spirited bowling spell on the fourth day was the turning point in Rajasthan’s fortunes. He bowled with demonic aggression and grabbed eight wickets in the match. The next match was against Orissa which Rajasthan won by an innings and 56 runs. Robin Bisht knocked off 127 runs, Mathur performed an encore with five wickets in first innings, RR Singh came to the party and captured six wickets in second innings. By the strange quirk of fate, other results of Elite Group went according to Rajasthan’s liking and they surprisingly qualified for the quarter-finals.
Rajasthan coasted to the comfortable victory in the quarter-final against Hyderabad. They won on the basis of first innings lead and the Rajasthan’s wicket-keeper Dishant Yagnik and Aakash Chopra were the architect of the victory as they both rustled up coruscating centuries.
The semi-final between Rajasthan and Haryana was a treat for the bowlers and Rajasthan won it by 64 runs after being dismissed for 89 in their first innings. RR Singh and Pankaj Singh were the stars of the match but Rajasthan’s opener Vineet Saxena went away for all the kudos. On a pitch where all the other batsmen were hopping, Saxena batted with the serenity of a sage, and notched up 32 and 58 runs respectively in a low-scoring game. He was the only batsmen to score the half-century in the game which speaks volumes about his skillful batting virtuosity.
After losing the two match winners, Ashok Menaria and Deepak Chahar because of his injuries, and lack-lustre performance in first few games, no one envisioned that Rajasthan would reach to the final in the consecutive seasons. But, our champions made it possible by their indomitable spirit and never-say-die attitude. Our captain, Hrishikesh Kanitkar did a creditable job to inspire the whole team and made them perform as a collective unit. RR Singh performed brilliantly in his debut season and Robin Bisht proved to be the most prolific batsman of this Ranji season. All the batsmen and bowlers came good at some point and contributed to team’s dazzling show after a tame start.
To be true, even my mind relinquished the hopes that Rajasthan would come so far in this tournament but there was a heart who never cease to believe in miracles. Rajasthan’s incredible comeback in the tournament has fortified my belief in the miracles, and on behalf of all the people from Rajasthan, I would like to say that we all are overjoyed to reach the final of the prestigious Ranji Trophy and you guys are truly our heroes. Your every victory and personal milestones resonate in our heart for posterity, and give us unadulterated & unrivalled joy.
Wishing good luck to all the cricketers of Rajasthan Team for the finals. Halla bol!! And to Ranji Trophy, I would like to say – “Padharo Mare Desh!” Give us the honour of showing our hostitality and possessing you forever. You’re the most beautiful edifice among all our glorious cultural heritage.Tags: Aakash Chopra . dishant yagnik . Hrishikesh Kanitkar . Rajasthan . ranji trophy . Robin Bisht . RR Singh . Sheffali Chugh . Sumit Mathur . Vineet Saxena
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