Rest of India beat Madhya Pradesh by 238 runs to win Irani Cup

A dominating performance from the bowlers helped Rest of India register an emphatic 238-run win over Madhya Pradesh on the fifth day of the Irani Cup match on Sunday. Chasing a mammoth target of 437 for victory, the Ranji Trophy champions from last home season were bowled out for 198 in 58.4 overs in their second innings. All the three Tests played so far in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy ended inside three days amid the dominance of the spin bowlers. In such a situation, the pitch of Gwalior reminds of those days when every department of the game used to get some help from the pitch.

The Irani Cup final saw four hundreds, 40 wickets fall, and a pitch that provided equal assistance to fast bowlers and spinners during the game. Fast bowlers and spinners took five wickets each in Madhya Pradesh’s second innings. Pacers Mukesh Kumar (2/34), Atit Sheth (2/37) and Navdeep Saini (1/34) sent Madhya Pradesh’s top-order to the pavilion while off-spinner Pulkit Narang (27 Two wickets for one run) and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar (three wickets for 60 runs) made the lower order batsmen walk.

Earlier in the day, however, Madhya Pradesh skipper Himanshu Mantri (51) had to bear the brunt of poor umpiring. He had not yet added a single run to his score of the previous day and the umpire declared him out. Replays, however, showed that the ball had hit the wicketkeeper’s glove without hitting the bat. After this, the Madhya Pradesh team kept losing wickets at frequent intervals. Yash Dubey, who scored a century in the first innings, was bowled on a brilliant ball by Mukesh Kumar.

Jaiswal, who scored 213 in the first innings, contributed 144 runs in the second innings as Rest of India scored 246 runs in this innings. Rest of India had scored 484 runs in the first innings, in reply to which Madhya Pradesh was bowled out for 294 runs. Jaiswal, who scored a total of 357 runs in the match, said, “If I had saved my wicket on the opening day of the match, I would have had a chance to complete the triple century.” He praised opener Abhimanyu Easwaran (154). Jaiswal and Easwaran shared a partnership of more than 300 runs for the second wicket.

“I had an experienced partner at the crease in Easwaran and it was great to play with him,” he said at the award function after being named man of the match. Bowled 29 overs at a fast pace in two innings. Easwaran also got a chance to show why he is considered the best of the next generation of openers.

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