Records tumble in historic run chase
The Rest of India chase down a record 480 to win Irani Cup having conceded 297-run deficit on the first innings
11 March 2016, 09:30 PM AEST
How on earth did they lose this?
Mumbai's first-class team are wondering what could have been after a record-breaking loss to a Rest of India XI in the Irani Cup this week.
The annual one-off match, between the incumbent Ranji Trophy winners and the Rest of India, smashed multiple records after the ROI won having conceded a massive 297-run deficit on the first innings.
Mumbai gained the advantage midway through the match after they bowled the ROI out for 306 in reply to their first innings of 603.
But having bowled Mumbai out for just 182 in their second innings, the ROI chased down a monster victory target of 480 with four wickets in hand.
It is the 10th highest successful run chase in the history of first-class cricket and the third-highest in India, while the 297-run first-innings lead given up by the ROI is the highest by a winning team in India.
In a timely nod to history, the previous record on Indian soil was the famous 2001 Eden Gardens Test against Australia when India won having faced a deficit of 274 in the first innings, a match that began 15 years ago today.
Mumbai's first innings of 603 is also the fifth-highest first innings total in a losing cause in all first-class cricket and the highest in India.
"It's out of the world, I would say," said ROI left-armer Jaydev Unadkat.
"This is probably one of the best matches of my career. That's the beauty of the game, that's what we play for.
"It's a commendable effort by the team. Just don't lose hope, that's the morale of the story.
"This match will hold a special position in my career."
Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit was left to lament team selection, with left-armer Iqbal Abdulla – who took 5-154 from 42.4 overs in the fourth innings – the only frontline spinner in the side.
"Unfortunately, we didn't have a regular spinner apart from Abdulla," Pandit said.
"We relied on medium pacers throughout the season. On the fifth day, we thought (part-time off-spinner Jay) Bista would do well but he couldn't utilise the conditions. That's where we failed."
Former India player Rohan Gavaskar, who was commentating on the match, also questioned Mumbai's tactics on the final day.
"It was a sensational effort by batsmen. Don't forget that," he told The Indian Express.
"Scoring so many runs on a fifth day wicket demanded a special effort and all the batsmen of Rest of India contributed to make it possible.
"(Medium-pacer) Shardul Thakur has been a wicket-taking bowler for them. He didn't bowl as many overs as he could have.
"(The) medium pacers were generally under-bowled and it appeared from the morning itself that Mumbai had a defensive mindset."