On this day in 1991: Underdog Haryana stun Bombay with two-run win in Ranji Trophy final

Ranji Trophy Image 640 BCCI

In the era of shorter forms, the enticement of the red ball cricket is still the most exciting treat for many cricket fans around the globe. The thrill of a five-day-long tussle and closely-contested Test victory is unparalleled. For those who have invested their time watching domestic cricket, the memory of the 1991 Ranji Trophy final between Bombay and Haryana at Wankhede Stadium is bound to be one of the most glittering memories of First-Class Indian cricket.

On 7 May 1991, Haryana, under the leadership of Kapil Dev, stunned over 20,000 spectators at Wankhede by clinching a gripping victory against the mighty Bombay. Despite being a First-Class match, the game was decorated by many big names from Indian cricket such as Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar, Chetan Sharma, Sanjay Manjrekar and a young Sachin Tendulkar.

Bombay stepped onto the ground as the favourites because of the home advantage and their immense record in the Ranji Trophy. The Bombay-based side had already lifted 30 Ranji tiles until then including 15 straight triumphs between 1959 and 1973.

Electing to bat first, with the contribution of Deepak Sharma (199), Ajay Jadeja (94) and Chetan Sharma (98), Haryana registered a total of 522 runs in the first innings. In reply, Bombay displayed a combined team effort to reach 410 in the first innings. Lalachand Rajput (74), Sanjay Patil (85), Sachin Tendulkar (47) and Chandrakant Pandit (40) played their parts but couldn’t take a lead for their team. Sanjay Manjarekar’s Bombay unit was trailing by 112 runs in the first innings.

The second innings was not that good for the visitors. They posted 242 runs with the help of Ajay Banerjee’s unbeaten 60 and Kapil Dev’s 41 to establish a target of 355 runs in front of Bombay. When Bombay headed to the crease to bat, there were only a little over two sessions left on the final day. They were required to reach the target in 68 overs. Kapil Dev and Chetan Sharma made matters worse for the host at the initial stage.

Bombay were three wickets down for 34 runs before lunch. Then Dilip Vengsarkar (139) and Sachin Tendulkar (96) took the responsibility to steer the innings but couldn’t cross the victory line. Bombay fell two runs short of winning the first Ranji Trophy in six years on the home ground.

With the victory, Haryana lifted their first Ranji title in their history. Their previous best campaign was a runner-up finish in the 1985-86 season.

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