Madhya Pradesh coach Chandrakant Pandit made his way to the middle of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium while wiping the tears from his face. He made a gesture of appreciation to the crowd of a few thousand less as he turned around and clasped his hands. It was an opportunity for atonement for the anguish he had experienced at the same location 23 years before as the MP captain. A valiant journey to the Ranji Trophy final in 1998–1999 was ended when his batsmen gave in to Karnataka spinner Vijay Bhardwaj while chasing a fourth innings goal.

On Sunday, not In the Ranji final against 41-time champions Mumbai, MP, who had been the superior team for the majority of the five days, had persevered despite a few slip-ups to knock off a fourth-innings target of 108, winning by six wickets with more than a session left to play to clinch their first Ranji title.

Pandit gathered his players for a huddle in the center as they piled on top of one another in ecstasy before the squad seated the man who has been dubbed the greatest coach in Indian domestic cricket. He led Vidarbha to consecutive Ranji championships and has now returned to MP to help them achieve a victory beyond his control.

When the MP players were ordered to put their coach down so they could meet the Mumbai players who were waiting to congratulate the victors, they were carrying their coach on their shoulders. Amol Muzumdar, the mentor of the defeated finalists, was a former colleague of Pandit’s from Mumbai. Pandit, who has six victories to his credit as a coach, led Mumbai to its most recent championship in 2015–16.

This year’s Ranji Trophy put a strong emphasis on how Pandit organized MP. But few people would have wagered on them to win the championship. They just had only one final in Bengaluru to show for their poor prior track record.

 

Rajat Patidar was one of the pioneers who helped the idea come true. It was only natural that their leading run-scorer scored the winning run in the end. Mumbai needed a miracle to win the 42nd championship after Patidar’s century on Day 4 enabled MP to capture a 162-run first inning.