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Vidarbha Defend Ranji Title with 78-Run Win Against Saurashtra

Courtesy Aditya Sarwate’s six-wicket haul, Vidarbha were crowned champions of the Ranji Trophy for the second season in a row, as Saurashtra were bowled out for 127 runs on the fifth day of the final at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur on Thursday.

Cricketnext Staff |February 7, 2019, 5:43 PM IST
Vidarbha Defend Ranji Title with 78-Run Win Against Saurashtra

Courtesy Aditya Sarwate’s six-wicket haul, Vidarbha were crowned champions of the Ranji Trophy for the second season in a row, as Saurashtra were bowled out for 127 runs on the fifth day of the final at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur on Thursday.

Resuming the innings on 58/5, Saurashtra needed 148 runs on the final day to lift the Ranji Trophy, with Kamlesh Makvana and Vishvaraj Jadeja at the crease. While Saurashtra needed to win outright, a draw would have been enough for a Vidarbha to be declared winners, since they ended the first innings with a lead.

Refreshingly, both Makvana and Jadeja did not adopt an over-cautious approach, and instead decided to put the pressure on the Vidarbha bowlers. Aditya Sarwate was hit for a couple of fours, and so was Umesh Yadav, as Saurashtra aimed to put runs on the board quickly.

Continuing the aggressive approach, Makvana hit Sarwate over mid-on for a boundary in his fifteenth over of the innings. However, it wasn’t the aggressive approach which brought about his downfall but Sarwate’s guile, as in the same over a delivery sneaked in and clipped the top of off stump, Makvana leaving the ball expecting it to land in the wicketkeeper’s gloves.

Buoyed by that dismissal, Akshay Wakhare turned up the pressure on new batsman Prerak Mankad in the next over. Helped by the unpredictability of a pitch that was assisting both spinners by now, Mankad missed a straight delivery which hit his back leg, and the umpire did not have any hesitation in raising in finger. From 88/5, Saurashtra found themselves at 91/7 in the space of just a couple of overs.

Vishvaraj Jadeja, however, looked solid and seemed like he was preparing himself to dig in for the long haul. At the same time, another four off the bowling of Sarwate indicated positive intent, regardless of the situation the team found itself in.

However, Sarwate’s doggedness in sticking to his line and length paid off. Jadeja looked to sweep, missed, and was caught right in front of the stumps. Vidarbha got the big wicket they wanted, Jadeja stayed frozen at the crease for a few seconds after being dismissed, and Sarwate picked up his fifth wicket of the innings.

From 103/8, it was just a matter of time before Vidarbha picked up the remaining wickets. Captain Jaydev Unadkat walked in and hit the odd boundary, but Sarwate’s rhythm, and the whimsical nature of the pitch were far bigger factors in determining the course of the match.

Unadkat lasted 15 balls, and was dismissed for 7 while trying to sweep – LBW on the bowling of Sarwate once again as the score read 121. Six runs later, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja swept a delivery off Akshay Wakhare’s bowling, and it was symbolic that it was caught by Sarwate between mid-wicket and fine-leg, the architect of Vidarbha’s win.

After taking five wickets in the first innings, he finished with six in the second innings to register overall match figures of 64 overs, 18 maidens, 157 runs and 11 wickets.

With the win, Vidarbha also confirmed its position as the team that will take on the Rest of India team in the Irani Trophy, to be played later this month.

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