Faiz Fazal has a half-century in India colours this year. But more than that, the 32-year-old will cherish something he acheived with his Ranji team Vidarbha. The captain of the Vidarbha, Fazal led his side to a historical win over Karnataka to make it through to their first ever final of the Ranji Trophy. Fast bowler Rajneesh Gurbani scalped 7 wickets in second innings to bowl out Karnataka five runs short of the target. It was a win against one of the best teams of the tournament for some years now.
Vidarbha’s semi-final win is nothing less than a hard-fought battle. Karnataka had been in terrific touch throughout the tournament. Opener Mayank Agarwal’s composure and gutsy batting had made him the leading run-getter with 1160 runs to his name. The right-hander’s form was such that Vidarbha’s captain Fazal who follows Agarwal in the tally is 317 runs behind. Despite attaining a pair in the second match, Agarwal’s rise was something to watch out for. He smashed five consecutive tons in five matches including a triple hundred.
While Agarwal was the major force that dragged Karnataka’s journey, they did have players who proved their worth whenever required. Manish Pandey’s double ton followed by a hundred, K Gowtham’s seven-for against Railways and a six-wicket haul against Mumbai and lately, Karun Nair’s 153 in the semi-final were some performances that revealed how this side has worked as a team.
Vidarbha will meet Delhi in the final after Rishabh Pant-led side scripted a thumping win over Bengal. But how important this final is for the Delhi side? And the answer is it’s a resurgence.
It took a decade for Delhi to register a Ranji Trophy final berth but when they did, they did it with authority. Delhi produced an emphatic display when it was most required. A fairly young side playing under the guidance of experienced Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir gave up his captaincy before the start of the tournament and his decision of handing over the baton to young Rishabh Pant proved fruitful.
Three hundreds and two half-centuries so far in the tournament is Gambhir’s tally after the conclusion of the semi-final match against Bengal. But it’s not just the left-handed opener who has come out with some phenomenal display of gameplay. Delhi have rode on individual performances and they certainly have a distinctive bunch of match-winners in the line up. For instance, Navdeep Saini went through Bengal batting in second innings and with him was Kulwant Khejroliya too who too bagged a four-for. The outcome of this collective bowling effort was that Bengal was bundled out for a mere 86 in the second innings.
The fourth semi-finalists Bengal might have seen the most disappointing finish to their journey but they had players who did impress. Sudip Chatterjee started off this Ranji season in style notching up a hundred in the very first match against Services in Delhi’s Palam Ground. Abhishek Kumar Raman scored 623 runs in the tournament while A R Eswaran notched up 564.
Delhi locked horns with Madhya Pradesh, Bengal with Gujarat, Vidarbha with Kerala and Karnataka with Mumbai. The only thing that was common in these encounters was that they turned out to be one-sided affairs. Delhi defeated MP by 7 wickets, Vidarbha thumped Kerala by 412 runs while Karnataka beat Mumbai by an innings and 20 runs. It was only Bengal who qualified through first innings lead. But it was more of a batting pratice in second innings as Manoj Tiwary’s side piled up 695/6 before the end of play.
Punjab’s Anmolpreet Singh’s cricketing season was nothing less than a roller-coaster ride. He scored a half-centruy in the opener against Himachal Pradesh but was asked to make way for veteren Yuvraj Singh, resulting in his demotion. He was asked to play Col CK Nayudu Trophy but this drop didn’t disappoint the youngster. He instead made most out of it and hammered 202. The knock wasn’t omitted by the selectors and he was back in Punjab’s Ranji Trophy squad and it was his sheer talent that made Anmol a regular at number 4 spot for his side. He scored a total of three tons and a half-centruy with a best individual score of 267 to end the season with 753 runs in 7 innings.
Andhra captain Hanuma Vihari amassed 752 runs in 10 innings that included a triple centruy for his side. Vihari credits his trip to England for the consistent batting performances. “I went to England and came back as a better player. In club cricket you have to score runs and pick wickets or the team will lose. You have only one or two good players. The responsibility is on you. They pay you money and expect performances in each game. It taught me consistency too. I learnt to put a price-tag on my wicket. Before that I used to perform in a few matches and then have a lean patch,” he says.
Kerala’s Jalaj Saxena scalped 44 wickets in 14 innings that included three fifer.
D A Jadeja
Saurashtra’s D A Jadeja bagged 34 wickets in 6 matches and grabbed the third place in the tally of bowlers with most number of wickets.
The fame that Prithvi Shaw has gathered in the recent time is an evidence of his excellence. A 154 in Duleep Trophy final for India Red and three hundreds and two half-centuries for Mumbai showed the teenager’s approach about days cricket. With such performances under his belt, Shaw got a perfect reward for himself when he was handed over the captaincy duties for the upcoming U-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
Robin Uthappa -Karnataka to Saurashtra.
Vidarbha to Hyderabad
Uttar Pradesh to Gujarat
Railways to Vidharbha
K Arun Karthik
Assam to Kerala
Assam (from Afghanistan)
Vidarbha (from Mumbai)
leaves Assam (for Bangladesh)
The Duleep Trophy was lifted by India Red after beating India Blue by 163 runs. The tournament saw some brilliant display of cricket and proved to be a constructive one for a number of players. Wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik who was a part of India Red side scored a hundred in the final against India Blue.
Washington Sundar’s all-round performance in Duleep Trophy and later in Ranji Trophy earned him India cap against Sri Lanka. Sundar has now played an ODI and T20I in India colours. Tamil Nadu batsman Baba Indrajith donned India Red jersey and scored a double ton and a half-century in the tournament.
Deepak Hooda scored a hundred for India Blue against India Red while Karn Sharma returned with a fifer for his India Red side in the same match. Karn also had a four-wicket haul to his name against India Green.
Opener Priyank Panchal became a good household name in the domestic circuit and he proved the worth with twin tons against India Green for India Red.
The domestic performances have always played a stimulative role to provide the limelight to the players. And this season has once again worked on the same grounds.