January 1, 2018 8:48:21 pm
Out of nowhere, Vidarbha won the Ranji Trophy. They were in their maiden final this season and were playing against seven-time champions Delhi. But that did not put them on backfoot. They played with heart and completed an emphatic victory over Delhi by nine wickets. Last year, it were Gujarat who won their maiden Ranji title and this time Vidarbha continue the trend. The team has been consistent throughout the season and were rewarded with the title.
Their run in the tournament was marked by big victories over teams in the group stages and an excellent run in the quarters, semis and final. Here’s a look at how Vidarbha performed throughout the Ranji season.
Match 1 Group Stage: Beat Punjab by an innings and 117 runs
Siddesh Neral and Lalit Yadav set up the first win for Vidarbha. Punjab were batting first but were bowled out for 161 in their first innings. Yadav and Neral picked up three wickets each. Vidarbha’s batsmen then posted 505 in reply with centuries from Sanjay Ramaswamy and Ganesh Satish. Akshay Kanewar was the star of the second innings for Vidarbha as he picked up six wickets to bowl Punjab out for 227 giving the team their first victory.
Match 2 Group Stage: Beat Services by 192 runs
Centurions from first match Ramaswamy and Satish scored half-centuries in the second game but it was the amazing century from captain Faiz Fazal that give Vidarbha the early momentum in the match. They ended the first innings at 385. Services were bowled out for 317 with Wakhare taking five wickets. Vidarbha set Services a target of 292 to win after declaring their second innings at 223 for 6. Wakhare’s another five wicket haul helped them bowl out Services for 99 and win the game.
Match 3 Group Stage: Beat Bengal by 10 wickets
Vidarbha’s batsmen were right there performing match after match. Fazal and Ramaswamy once again struck centuries and with that Vidarbha posted 449 runs. Bengal were clueless against the Vidarbha bowlers and were asked to follow-on. They did make Vidarbha bat again but they needed only 18 runs to win the game. A 10-wicket win for the team was ensured by the openers.
Match 4 Group Stage: Beat Goa by an innings and 37 runs
The unbeaten team in the tournament got another win under their belt when they thrashed Goa by an innings and 37 runs. Wakhare, who was enjoying a brilliant season, once again took four wickets as Goa were bowled out for just 239. This time, Wasim Jaffer and Ganesh Satish slammed centuries each and Vidarbha declared the innings at 427/3 after taking a huge lead. Vidarbha had advantage and Goa had no chance of winning it as Wakhare ran through the batting order. Goa were dismissed for just 151. Vidarbha had another victory.
Quarter-final: Beat Kerala by 412 runs
If group stages were an easy affair for Vidarbha, they won in the quarters against once of the best teams of the tournament after being on the backfoot. After being bowled out for 246 in the first innings, Gurbani, a bowler who performed regualary for the team, picked up a five-wicket haul and bowled out Kerala for 176. The second innings was better to bat. Fazal and Apoorv Wankhede hit centuries. Vidarbha posted 507 for 9. In the second innings, it was Aditya Sarwate who scalped six wickets for his team which won the game by 412 runs.
Semi-final: Beat Karnataka by 5 runs
Perhaps the best game of the season and Vidarbha won it. Gurbani was the star for them after their batsmen failed to put on a healthy total. They were bowled out for a mere 185 and Karnataka rode on a majical 153 from Karun Nair to post 306. The 116-run lead was good for Karnatak to put them in the final. The only thing they had to do was bowl Vidarbha out as soon as possible. But they Vidarbha managed 313 runs in the second innings, thanks to half-centuries from Ganesh Satish and Aditya Sarwate. The drama unfolded on the final day as Gurbani picked up seven wickets and Vidarbha bowled out Karnatak for 192 and win the game by five runs.
Final: Beat Delhi by 9 wickets
Playing against former champions Delhi, Vidarbha did exceptionally well. They kept Delhi to 295 despite Dhruv Shorey’s 145. Gurbani achieved a rare feat of a hat-trick in a Ranji final. Delhi should have bowled out Vidarbha early but Akshay Wadkar coming at number six slammed a century and half-centuries four half-centuries helped Vidarbha take a 252-run lead. Wakhare took four wickets in the second innings as Delhi batsmen once again failed. Vidarbha needed only 29 runs to win and Wasim Jaffer hit three consecutive fours to win the title for them.
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