Dhawal Kulkarni in tears after Ajinkya Rahane’s unexpected act in Ranji final | Cricket


After a wicketless opening session on day five of the Ranji Trophy final, Mumbai finally found some solace after lunch. In Tanush Kotian and Tushar Deshpande, they found an ideal pair to bulldoze Vidarbha’s lower order after stubborn resistance from captain Akshay Wadkar and all-rounder Harsh Dubey. Kotian challenged both edges of the bat while Deshpande bounced Vidarbha’s tail. In 28 balls, Mumbai picked up four wickets – two by Kotian and two by Deshpande. It was Kotian who broke the frustrating stand by getting Wadkar for 102. Deshpande then used the short ball to good effect to end Dubey’s resistance (65).

Mumbai’s Dhawal Kulkarni gets emotional after taking the winning wicket in his last match to win the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha (PTI)

It didn’t take long for Kotian and Deshpande to dismiss Aditya Sarwate (3) and Yash Thakur (6). Mumbai were one wicket away from ending an 8-year wait for a Ranji Trophy title – a record 42nd that would be. Kotian and Deshpande were all over the Vidarbha batting and showed no signs of fatigue. But the Mumbai captain Ajinkya Rahane I thought otherwise.

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He threw the ball to Dhawal Kulkarni, the man who played his last first-class match. The veteran right-arm seamer who had claimed the first Vidarbha wicket in the final did not disappoint. He tossed it, Umesh Yadav crossed the line and the ball hit the stumps. Kulkarni stretched out her arms, closed her eyes and let herself be penetrated. His teammates were running pell-mell. Mumbai won the match by 169 runs and thus claimed their 42nd Ranji Trophy title.

Dhawal Kulkarni moved by Ajinkya Rahane’s gesture

Kulkarni, who picked up three wickets with the new ball in the first innings, knew that this was the last time he would turn out in a Mumbai jersey. He tried his best but couldn’t control his emotions. Tears streamed down his cheeks even as his teammates embraced him.

It was a fitting end for a man who had been an ardent servant of Mumbai cricket for over a decade and a half. After the match, he said he didn’t expect Rahane to hand him the ball, especially when Deshpande was playing so well.

“It’s a cricketer’s dream to start and finish with a bang. It’s my 6th final, the 5th time we’ve won and it will be dear to me. It was a great gesture, I don’t regret it. didn’t expect (that Rahane would bowl him the ball to end the match), but hats off to Tushar who gave me the ball despite taking two wickets in an over. I have experience because I played with big stars, they shared a lot of experience with me and I passed on the same to the younger players,” Kulkarni said after the match.

Overall, Kulkarni had a memorable finale as he took three wickets in the first innings while giving away just 15 runs in his spell of 11 overs. In the second innings, the 35-year-old lost runs but eventually got his first, with Umesh losing his wicket to the experienced pacer. He finished his career with 281 wickets in 95 first-class matches. He has also represented India in 12 ODIs and 2 T20Is.

The Mumbai Cricket Association congratulated Kulkarni. His wife and children also joined him on the field.

Earlier on the final day, Mumbai were left frustrated after Vidarbha skipper Akshay Wadkar and Harsh Dubey fought valiantly to ensure they did not lose a single wicket in the first session as they chased 537 .

However, after the dismissal of Wadkar (102), Vidarbha lost their remaining wickets in five overs following a period of clinical bowling from Mumbai.

Mumbai ended their eight-year wait to get their hands on the Ranji Trophy title with a 169-run win.

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