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Vidarbha lift their maiden Ranji Trophy title in Indore

Faiz Fazal-led team trounce Delhi by nine wickets in the 2017-18 final

Vidarbha sailed to a nine-wicket win over Delhi to lift their maiden Ranji Trophy title in Indore. Experienced campaigner, Wasim Jaffer who was playing in his ninth Ranji Trophy final and was won the coveted trophy every time he has appeared in a final struck Kulwant Khejroliya to the fence to claim victory.

Having bowled Delhi out for 280, Vidarbha needed 29 runs to win. The skipper and the highest run-getter for the team through the season, Faiz Fazal was adjudged lbw in the first over. Jaffer then overhauled the paltry target with SR Ramaswamy in five overs to finish the game with a day to spare.

The day began with Vidarbha adding 19 runs to their overnight total before being bowled out for 547 on the fourth day with a whooping 252-run first innings lead. All the three remaining wickets fell with the score on 547. Siddhesh Neral’s chancy innings ended for 74. The batsman edged Navdeep Saini to the wicketkeeper while Akshay Wadkar departed taking the aerial route.

Although Wadkar returned on his overnight score of 133, it was his innings that helped bat Delhi out of the game. In the next over Aditya Thakare was sent back by Saini to bring curtains down on the Vidarbha innings.

With the match tipped heavily in Vidarbha’s favour, the Delhi openers Kunal Chandela and Gautam Gambhir came out to the middle.

However, with just 32 runs on the board Chandela departed taking the aerial route off A Wakhare. The left-handed opener who had struck some delectable drives was then trapped lbw by Rajneesh Gurbani leaving the team on 50 for two a bit later.

The first innings centurion, Dhruv Shorey was then joined in the middle by Nitish Rana. Chipping away at the opposition the pair put together 114-runs for the third wicket until the No 3 bat edged A Sarvate to the wicketkeeper leaving the side on 164 for three.

With Rishabh Pant, Nitish Rana then continued to carry the innings forward until Rajneesh Gurbani drew an edge from the latter through to Wadkar at the stroke of Tea leaving the side wobbling on 189 for four.

With a run added to the tally Himmat Singh was castled for zero by A Wakhare upfront in the final session of the day. From there on it was all downhill for the Pant-led team. A bit later with Delhi still trailing by 30 runs the skipper departed swinging his bat at a Siddhesh Neral delivery leaving his side on 222 for six. Six runs later Manan Sharma was bowled Wakhare.

Vikas Mishra and Akash Sudan then averted a innings defeat as they added 45 runs to the tally until the former was removed by Sarvate. Off the last ball of his over, the bowler sent back Akash Sudan to wrap-up Delhi’s second innings for 280.

The Faiz Fazal-led team were set a meagre target to lay their hands on the trophy which then attained with ease.

Man of The Match: Rajneesh Gurbani

Scorecard

BCCI Staff

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Akshay Wadkar’s maiden ton flattens Delhi

The wicketkeeper-batsman guides Vidarbha to a commanding position

It was yet another youngster from Vidarbha who helped the team seize the momentum and put them in a commanding position in the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 final in Indore. Akshay Wadkar, who made his first-class debut earlier this season, posted his maiden century as he helped his team to a first innings lead and build on the advantage. Remaining unbeaten on 133* off 244 balls, the wicketkeeper-batsman had taken his team to Stumps at 528 for seven with Siddhesh Neral (56*).

When they resumed their innings in the morning, Vidarbha were trailing by 89 runs with Wasim Jaffer and A Wakhare in the middle. Both teams would have skipped a beat when the senior batsman was dropped on his overnight score on 61 off Navdeep Saini as Dhruv Shorey at first slip and Kunal Chandela diving to his left messed the chance of getting an early breakthrough. A bit later, Saini drew an edge from Wakhare through to the wicketkeeper to leave Vidarbha on 237 for five. Nine runs later, Jaffer was out lbw to the Delhi pacer.

With the team on 246 for six, Aditya Sarvate joined Wadkar in an effort to carry the Vidarbha innings past Delhi’s first innings total of 295. The duo played sensibly to help seize a lead and carried on determinedly to build on it. As the inched forward, Sarvate was dropped on 49 by Gautam Gambhir off Vikas Mishra and the batsman completed his half-century.

Asked about coming in to bat with the team precariously poised, Wadkar said, “At the start, there was some pressure and it was a crucial situation in the game as well (but) Wasim (Jaffer) bhaiya was there with me in the middle. He told me to just watch the ball. And I continued to do that.”

Discussing the pressure and situation after Jaffer’s departure, he said, “Obviously there was pressure because we were still trailing. It was crucial to stay there in order to get the first innings lead. And when Adi bhaiya (Aditya Sarvate) joined me and we built a good partnership. It was important to do that. If we would have lost a wicket at that point we might not have been able to take a lead or even if we did it wouldn’t have been sizeable probably and the match would have been hanging in the balance.”
Asked about his batting, Wadkar said, “I wasn’t in the team only for the first three matches. But I performed in the local matches and that got me into the team. My aim was that whenever I get a chance I will do what is required of me. In my first outing I couldn’t but then in the quarter-final, I did. When the team is in a precarious position and needs me to stand up (I like to do it). I play under pressure. I have that confidence in me and so does sir (Chandrakant Pandit). He said, go and play.”

They resumed their efforts on 336 for six in the second session. Chipping away at the opposition they built the highest seventh-wicket stand of the season for Vidarbha at a crucial juncture in the all-important game of the season. Their partnership was worth 169 runs when Sarvate was sent back by Nitish Rana for 79. However, by then the match was tipped in Vidarbha’s favour. Speaking about their joint effort, Wadkar said, “We know each other’s game, so we are able to communicate well with each other and work things out.”

Siddhesh Neral then combined with Wadkar to glean runs off the Delhi attack. The wicket-keeper batsman brought up his maiden ton with a boundary over mid-on off Mishra at the stroke of Tea. The duo had taken the team to a solid 444 for seven until the end of the second session.

Reflecting on his century, Wadkar stated, “I had never thought that I will score a hundred. I had only thought that I have to stay not out and help my team win. I will contribute as much as I can (to that end). As the game moved forward, I also got my eye in so then I made it.”

Neral who was swinging his bat to add quick runs to the total continued to do so in the final session of the day as well while Wadkar held up one end. The batsman continued to take his chances and brought up a quick-fire half-century. Making most of the chances afforded to him he helped extend the lead with his senior partner.

Asked about Neral’s batting style and their partnership, Wadkar said, “Neral said I will play my shots. Am able to hit them and my luck is also favouring me since the catch was dropped and there was also a no-ball (that he was out on). Let’s make what we can today we don’t know what it will be like tomorrow.”
Complementing each other’s efforts the Wadkar-Neral pair had extended the Vidarbha lead 233.

“We had to play as long as possible. Sir had told us that play as long as you can and try to remain not out,” he replied.

Scorecard - http://www.bcci.tv/ranji-trophy-2017-18/match/91   

Prajakta Pawar

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