The slender 14-run first innings lead made all the difference as Uttar Pradesh, under the mercurial leadership of Mohammed Kaif, frustrated Bengal to win the Ranji Trophy for the first time at the K D Singh Babu stadium in Lucknow on Thursday.
Uttar Pradesh, who scored 387 in the first innings and claimed a vital 14-run lead after bowling Bengal out for 373, were all out for 342 in the second innings on Thursday.
Aware that the trophy had eluded them, the Deep Dasgupta-led Bengal just went through the motions and finished the final day at 142 for five, with Praveen Kumar claiming all the wickets.
It was a moment of glory for Kaif, who led UP to its maiden Ranji title in the 72-year-old history of the tournament.
After a brilliant 92 in the first innings, Kaif scored a scintillating 109 and along with India teammate Suresh Raina (52) had a perfect warm-up for the upcoming one-day series in Pakistan.
Uttar Pradesh had reached the final thrice previously, but failed every time.
Uttar Pradesh (1st innings): 387 all out
Bengal (1st innings): 373 all out
Uttar Pradesh (2nd innings): (overnight 183 for 2)
P Kumar c Arindam Das b Bose 15
SK Shukla lbw b Paul 56
M Kaif c sub b Bose 109
SK Raina st Dasgupta b Singh 52
Amir Khan lbw b Lahiri 28
R Shamshad lbw b Lahiri 33
Piyush Chawla c Das b Lahiri 0
Jyoti P Yadav st Dasgupta b Singh 20
GK Pandey run out (Singh) 0
SJ Srivastava not out 3
AW Zaidi c sub b Singh 0
Extras: (b 9, lb 8, w 1, nb 8) 26
Total: (all out in 129.5 overs) 342
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-136, 3-231, 4-250, 5-315, 6-315, 7-318, 8-321, 9-342, 10-342
Bowling: Paul 26-4-71-1, Bose 15-4-60-2, Lahiri 47-7-119-3, Singh 39.5-15-69-3, Tiwary 2-0-6-0.
Bengal (2nd innings): (target: 357 runs)
S Lahiri c Amir Khan b Kumar 3
S Das c & b Kumar 32
A Jhunjhunwala c sub (AH Zaidi) b Kumar 0
R Gavaskar c Yadav b Kumar 5
L Shukla retired hurt 6
M Tiwary c Shamshad b Kumar 1
A Das not out 37
D Dasgupta not out 20
Extras: (w 1, nb 4) 5
Total: (for 5 wickets in 33 overs) 109
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-4, 3-19, 4-39, 5-54.
Bowling: Srivastava 6-1-30-0; Kumar 9-0-33-5, Piyush Chawla 9-1-23-0, Zaidi 7-2-19-0, Raina 2-0-4-0.
Result: Match drawn.
Uttar Pradesh won their maiden Ranji Trophy title by virtue of the first innings lead.