Even though I am the lowest scorer for my team, I am the happiest: Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane came up with a fighting fifty in the Mumbai second innings. File photo: PTI/Shashank Parade

Mumbai: Ajinkya Rahane might have endured a wretched run with the willow but he was the "happiest man" at the Wankhede here on Thursday, having led Mumbai to their 42nd Ranji Trophy title.

Mumbai beat Vidarbha by 169 runs to claim the silverware.

Rahane ended the Ranji season with a sting of failures and his 214 runs placed him in ninth spot among Mumbai's run-getters. But his timely 73 in the second innings of the final, and a 130-run stand with young centurion Musheer Khan did put the match beyond Vidarbha's reach.

"Even though I am the lowest scorer for my team, I am the happiest to lift the trophy. As a player, you will have ups and downs. It's about creating atmosphere in dressing room and enjoy each other's success. This is a special moment," Rahane said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

"Last year, we failed to qualify for the knockouts by one run. We had to create the right culture and attitude in the team. We created a fitness culture and I would thank MCA (Mumbai Cricket Association) for providing all the support," Rahane said.

Rahane was all praise for Vidarbha's fighting effort on the fourth and fifth day of the final.

"I want to appreciate Vidarbha's fight. Chasing 538, giving up is easy but they played really well."

Player of the Match Musheer Khan and Player of the Tournament Tanush Kotian were thankful to their skipper for his guidance.

"I enjoyed batting with him," said Musheer, adding, "During our partnership, he would very nicely explain what he wanted from me."

Kotian thanked Rahane for helping him unlock his true batting potential which saw him score over 500 runs.

"Last year I got a bit more confidence in my batting and I worked hard with my father. Ajju dada also helped me a lot," Kotian said, underlining Rahane's contribution in creating a healthy dressing room atmosphere.

For the retiring Dhawal Kulkarni, Rahane said that any amount of praise would be less considering his contribution to Mumbai cricket. Kulkarni has played six finals for Mumbai and won five Ranji Trophy titles.

"We have played for Mumbai since our U-14 days. We toured for India U-19 (New Zealand). Whatever I say in his praise would be less. His contribution is laudable."

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