Irani Cup: Rest of India crowned champions


The rest of India secured a convincing victory within three days, thanks to challenging batting conditions on a spin-friendly pitch. Facing a target of 254, they bowled out Saurashtra for a mere 79 runs, marking the lowest-ever total in the history of the Irani Trophy. Saurabh Kumar was declared player of the match for his tremendous performance in the Irani Cup final.
Vihari decided to extend the match by an extra 30 minutes after the ninth-wicket partnership resisted for over half an hour. This strategic move paid off as Saurabh Kumar took the final two wickets, finishing with a total of 10 wickets in the game. Much was expected from Pujara, but he was trapped LBW and a poor shot from Sheldon Jackson added to Saurashtra’s woes.
ROI wrapped up the match in slightly over one session. Looking back, the first innings, where ROI scored 308 and gained a lead of 94 runs, turned out to be pivotal, considering the deteriorating pitch conditions. From the very first day, the pitch displayed signs of favouring spinners significantly, and it was during this phase that Sai Sudharsan’s innings played a crucial role.
Saurabh Kumar  mesmerised the Saurashtra’s batters in the second innings; he took six wickets. His heroic performance made the match one-sided, and ROI emerged champions again.
After the match, the Rest of India captain said  toss was crucial. The wicket deteriorated very quickly today. 21 wickets today and that showed how the wicket deteriorated. We got runs in the first innings which was crucial. [on Mayank and Sudharsan] They complemented each other well and got us runs. That›s what we spoke about in the morning as well.
Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat went on to say that conditions were tough, we lost the toss, and it gave them an advantage. Had we started well, it might have been different. It›s part of the game, though, but we played against the best of the rest from India, and they played well, and the best team won.