The only way the Irani Cup between Madhya Pradesh and Rest of India could have gone the distance on the fifth and final day was if the hosts did not lose early wickets.
Chasing 437 for victory, MP resumed on 81 for two, with skipper Himanshu Mantri batting on a well-set 51. Unfortunately for Mantri, he was adjudged caught behind off the second ball of the day from Navdeep Saini and stood shocked at the decision as he felt his bat was nowhere near the ball.
From thereon, nothing went the home team’s way. It lost wickets quickly and was bowled out for 198 as RoI cantered to a 238-run win to retain the Irani Cup at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium here on Sunday.
After Mantri’s dismissal, pacer Mukesh Kumar bowled Yash Dubey — the first innings centurion — beating him with a delivery that did not come in as much as the batter expected and uprooting off-stump.
Semblance of a fight
Aman Solanki, who hails from Gwalior, kept the small but boisterous crowd happy with a breezy 31, hitting six boundaries. Solanki and Harsh Gawli had added 49 runs for the fifth wicket putting up a semblance of a fight when Atit Sheth got a delivery to cut in sharply and sent Solanki’s leg-stump cartwheeling.
With that wicket, the fort was breached as the lower order tried to sharpen their big-hitting skills, accelerating the inevitable as the hosts folded up 10 minutes before lunch.
Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar (3/60) and off-spinner Pulkit Narang (2/27) shared the last four scalps equally in as many overs to bring the curtains down on the Indian domestic First Class season.
Rest of India — 1st innings: 484.
Madhya Pradesh — 1st innings: 294.
Rest of India — 2nd innings: 246.
Madhya Pradesh — 2nd innings: Arham Aquil lbw b Mukesh 0, Himanshu Mantri c Upendra b Saini 51, Shubham Sharma b Saurabh 13, Harsh Gawli lbw b Narang 48, Yash Dubey b Mukesh 8, Aman Solanki b Sheth 31, Saransh Jain c Upendra b Sheth 7, Ankit Kushwah st Upendra b Saurabh 23, Anubhav Agarwal c&b Narang 3, Kumar Kartikeya lbw b Saurabh 7, Avesh Khan not out 0; Extras (lb-6, nb-1): 7; Total (in 58.4 overs): 198.
Fall of wickets: 0-1, 2-51, 3-81, 4-94, 5-143, 6-151, 7-188, 8-188, 9-192.
Rest of India bowling: Mukesh 12-4-34-2, Saini 9-2-34-1, Sheth 11-1-37-2 , Saurabh 17.4-1-60-3, Narang 9-0-27-2.
RoI won by 238 runs; Player-of-the-Match: Yashasvi Jaiswal (213 & 144).