Irani Trophy: Rest of India thrashes Rajasthan to innings defeat and retains the title




With another very comprehensive victory for Rest of India in Irani trophy, the quality of Indian domestic is in question again.

Actually after Rest of India made huge first innings total of 607/7 and declared with mammoth lead of 354 runs, much more than what Rajasthan managed in their first innings, it is only matter of time before we had result in the match with pitch starting to deteriorate late yesterday at Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore.

They stretched the legacy of Rest of India team in Irani Trophy but question around quality of performance remains.

Rajasthan, starting the day at 43/1 with veterans Kanitkar and Saxena at the crease, did little to turn this one sided contest into atleast a interesting last two days of Irani trophy. What all they needed to do is to play out the time and salvage a draw. They also had ideal batsmens batting, Kanitkar and Saxena, both got reputations  for biding their time at the crease. They certainly began doing it as they passed the first hour of the day without much problem but to much of Rajasthan bad luck, their communication level was not at top like their concentration was today. After surviving a bad mix-up earlier today, Saxena was half way down after clipping the ball to square leg but since Kanitkar didn’t respond to call means, Ishant Sharma throw caught Saxena short of crease in the 26th over.

In walked the talk of Indian cricket experts circle, Robin Bist with a huge task ahead at 70/2. Robin Bist immediately along with Kanitkar began to concentrate on their work ahead. Soon after, Kanitkar bought up his hard worked fifty, Bist also got to his fifty in the second over after lunch as the partnership started to give hopes of fifth day’s play. But another communication break down in the day saw another solid Rajasthan batsmen end his innings in rather poor way. Kanitkar ran out for well made 73 runs off 153 balls.

Robin Bist in the other end was clearly the sight everyone had their eyes on, apart from the times of intense Ishant’s first spell. The battle between Bist and Ojha was a good one with the batsmen executing some clever shots and the bowler, making the ball to turn and bounce. Bist, who was running away in the contest against the leftie, finally was undone to the one that kept little low. But Bist is culprit in this case as he neither went forward nor back though due credit to Ojha for working hard all the way. Albeit he looked tentative at times with edges flying through slips, some crisp timing, neat foot work and powerful drives on display today are further proof for Robin Bist quality. After Bist got dismissed for 67 runs, it was all but over for Rajasthan at 180/4. Parida tried to get best out of this opportunity but only managed 31 runs. Yagnik, last of recognized batsmen, became third victim for run out today as Umesh bullet throw had him for 11 runs and tail tried to delay the victory but inevitably Rest of India won it in the end.

Murali Vijay’s 266 should be the talk of the match but considering the quality of bowling, Robin Bist 1st innings 117* must be taken highly into the account by the selectors. The worrying thing for all cricket lovers in India is, despite Rest of India strike bowlers, Umesh, Ishant and Ojha bowling well below their potential, last year Ranji champions Rajasthan scummed to an innings & 79 runs defeat and also lasted only 4 days in a pitch that was still decent to bat.

With the margin of victories alarmingly raising every year for Rest of India, we can only hope the next Irani Trophy at the end of this season (February) since the domestic changes made by BCCI came to effect imminently provides exciting and competitive cricket than this one.

Brief Score: Rest of India 607/7 (Vijay 266, Khatri 3/125) defeated Rajasthan 253 (Bist 117*, Yadav 5/55) & 275 (Kanitkar 81, Bist 67, Harmeet 4/54) by an innings and 79 runs.

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