Mumbai sniff 38th Ranji title, UP need 525 to win

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Vinayak Samant hit his maiden first class 100 while Rohit Sharma struck his second of the match as Mumbai virtually assured itself of its Ranji Trophy titl

Updated: January 15, 2009 15:28 IST
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New Delhi:

Vinayak Samant (113) slammed his maiden first class century, while team-mate Rohit Sharma (108) struck his second of the match as Mumbai batted Uttar Pradesh out of the final and virtually assured itself of its 38th Ranji Trophy title on Thursday.

Aware that their 157-run first innings lead was enough to win the title in case of a drawn match, Mumbai adopted a safety-first approach and batted on and on till they were all out for 367.

UP would require a miracle of sorts to chase down the mammoth 525-run target with just one day left.

The only sour note in Mumbai's superior display was Sachin Tendulkar's failure in both the innings. The star batsman, who scored a duck in the first innings and was battling a viral fever, batted at number seven in the second essay only to score four runs and fall to Piyush Chawla.

Apart from Samant and Rohit, captain Wasim Jaffer shone for Mumbai with the bat, scoring 85.

Rohit became only the sixth batsman to score two centuries in a Ranji Trophy final.

For UP, Piyush Chawla and Parvinder Singh scalped three wickets apiece.

Resuming on 130 for no loss, Mumbai soon realised that the UP bowlers were not in a mood to throw in the towel.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed Jaffer in the 43rd over just before the opening stand was about to reach the 150-mark and suddenly wicket started tumbling as Mumbai, from 146 for no loss, slumped to 241 for six.

Chawla alone claimed the scalps of Abhishek Nayar (3), Ramesh Powar (0) and Tendulkar to peg Mumbai back before Rohit put his foot down.

Samant survived numerous edges and near-misses but gamely hung on for his maiden century before falling to Parvinder Singh after a 239-ball 113 that included 17 hits to the fence. The middle order collapse apparently had no effect on Rohit who looked in complete control of the proceedings by the time UP took the second new ball.

Unlike the first innings, Rohit was rock solid today. He needed 27 balls to get off the mark but he kicked off in style, hitting Chawla for three consecutive boundaries.

In fact, he never allowed Chawla to settle into any rhythm, often sweeping him to negate his googly.

Even though Mumbai's lead kept swelling, they never really seemed keen on an outright win and batted on and on. Parvinder eventually dropped curtains on Rohit's innings just before Mumbai reached the 350-mark.

Rohit's 146-ball knock was studded with 17 crisp boundaries and a massive six off Praveen Gupta which also brought up his century.

Parvinder was on a hat-trick as he removed Zaheer Khan for a first ball duck but Dhawal Kulkarni (15) denied him the feat.

Chawla finally dropped curtains on Mumbai's second innings by removing Kulkarni.

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