Vidarbha Defeat Saurashtra to Retain Ranji Trophy Title
- Vidarbha defeat Saurashtra by 78 runs in the final to win their second-straight Ranji Trophy final.
- Chasing a 206-run target, Saurashtra were bowled out for 148 runs on Day 5 of the final in Nagpur.
- Vidarbha has become only the fifth team to lift the trophy in back-to-back seasons.
Defending champions Vidarbha defeated Saurashtra by 78 runs and retained the Ranji Trophy title on Thursday, 7 February.
Vidarbha needed five wickets to defend their title while Saurashtra, in a chase of 206, were left a mountain to climb after a top-order collapse on the fourth day. They required 148 runs for their maiden title on the fifth and final day at the VCA stadium.
“Everyone thought it was a fluke when we won last year and we were under pressure to retain the title. But our focus was process, we never bothered about reputation.”Chandrakant Pandit, Vidarbha Coach
The fiercely fought final swung early on but Vidarbha went into the final day with a tight hold on the proceedings and bundled out the visitors for 127 with more than two sessions to spare.
Pujara Disappoints, Aditya Stars
Overnight batsmen Vishvaraj Jadeja (52) and Kamlesh Makvana (14) batted resolutely for the first hour but once the partnership was broken, the end was inevitable for Saurashtra.
Cheteshwar Pujara failed to make a mark in the final, getting dismissed for scores of 1 and 0 in the two innings.
Man of the match left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate claimed three of the five wickets that fell on Thursday, to end with career-best match figures of 11/57. He took six for 59 in the second innings.
It was his maiden haul of 10 or more wickets in a first-class match. He had scalped five batsmen in the first innings.
Sarwate, without doubt, was the star of the match for Vidarbha as he not only took 11 of the 20 Saurashtra wickets with his left-arm spin, his 49-run knock in the second innings played a key role in his side setting the stiff 206-run target.
Vidarbha’s Ranji Trophy Glory
Vidarbha has become only the fifth team to lift the trophy in back-to-back seasons, winning both their titles under the leadership of Faiz Fazal. Mumbai, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Delhi are the other teams who have managed to win consecutive titles.
Jaydev Unadkat-led Saurashtra on the other hand, missed a chance to win their first Ranji Trophy title after Independence. They had ended runners-up to Mumbai in 2012-13 and 2015-16 and again it was a case of so close yet so far for them.
In a season that saw him become the first cricketer to score 11,000 runs, Vidarbha’s Wasim Jaffer finished as the second-highest run scorer – with 1,037 runs in 15 innings. Sikkim’s Milind Kumar amassed the most runs (1,331) this season, scoring a total of six centuries and four half-centuries, including a highest score of 261*.
“I never thought I will win two titles with Vidarbha after playing 10 finals (eight with Mumbai).”Wasim Jaffer
With 68 scalps in 8 matches, Ashutosh Aman of Bihar picked up the most wickets this season. Saurashtra’s Dharmendrasinh Jadeja was the second-highest wicket-taker with 59 wickets, followed by Vidarbha’s Aditya Sarwate (54 wickets).
During the group stages both Vidarbha and Saurashtra were in the same group – Elite Group A. At the end of the group stages both teams had identical records. Vidarbha and Saurashtra finished with 29 points and secured the first and the second spots respectively.
Out of the eight matches, both sides won three games and drew five. In fact, when they met earlier during the group stage, the match ended in a draw. The only thing differentiating both the sides was the quotient, where Vidarbha (1.332) pipped Saurashtra (1.108) to take the top spot.