Rest of India crush Rajasthan by 404 runs, lift Irani Cup
Jaipur: The Rest of India on Wednesday lifted the Irani Cup for the sixth consecutive time, crushing a hapless Rajasthan by 404 runs with a superb bowling performance on the fifth and final day.
With ROI having already secured the Cup after taking the first innings lead, Rajasthan`s only aim was to avoid an outright defeat but they failed to do so due to a disciplined bowling show by their opponents.
India discard left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha led the charge with four wickets for 60 runs while pacer Umesh Yadav and leg-spinner Rahul Sharma chipped in with two wickets apiece. Pacers Vinay Kumar and Varun Aaron got a wicket each. Ojha ended the match with nine wickets.
Resuming at 28 for no loss, Rajasthan offered brief resistance in the morning session before they folded just after tea for 213 in 73.2 overs.
Lower-order batsman Madhur Khatri top-scored with a 53 while Rashmi Parida contributed 37 but other Rajasthan top batsmen did not play a substantial knock.
With the target out of their reach, Rajasthan had only one option -- to save the match. It looked possible when opener Aakash Chopra and Vineet Saxena resisted ROI for nearly an hour in the morning session.
The breakthrough, however, came as Chopra failed to negotiate a turning ball off Ojha and Ajinkya Rahane took a fine catch at slip. Chopra`s 26 came from 69 balls and had five fours in it.
One-down Hrishikesh Kanitkar did not last long as he was out three overs later for just one with Yadav extracting extra bounce and the batsman edging the ball to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
Midway into the morning session, two wickets fell with Vinay Kumar first cleanbowling Saxena (17) and then Ojha winning an LBW shout against Robin Bist (18) after the batsman missed an attempted sweep off a full length delivery.
Two wickets fell just after resumption of post-lunch session and with that the Rajasthan resistance virtually ended. Ashok Maneria (21) was out in the first over after lunch off Yadav and then Rahul Sharma trapped Rohit Jhalani LBW with a flipper for a duck.
Parida halted the ROI charge for a while before he was out midway into the second session off Ojha, holing out to Rahul Sharma at mid-off. Parida`s 37 came from 82 balls and had five fours in it.
Just before tea break, Rahul Sharma scalped his second wicket of the day by cleaning up Deepak Chahar`s furnitures to take ROI on the verge of victory.
It took barely 20 minutes for the ROI to clean up the remaining two Rajasthan wickets and lift the trophy.
Khatri punished Aaron with a boundary to bring up his 50 but in the next ball, the bowler had the last laugh as he induced the batsman an edge for Abhinav Mukund to take the catch at third slip. Khatri`s 53 came from 98 balls and had nine fours in it.
Ojha then bagged his fourth wicket of the innings and ninth of the match with Sumit Mathur stumped-out by Patel after the bastman charged down the track for a big hit only to miss it.
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