Kolkatta/Nagpur: Vidarbha reached the Ranji Trophy final for the first time in history after pulling off a heart-stopping five-run win against eight-time champions Karnataka at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday, defending a modest target of 198. Pacer Rajneesh Gurbani picked up seven wickets (7/68) as Karnataka were shot out for 192 in the first session of the final day’s play.
Gurbani was his side’s hero in the first innings too, picking out five wickets as the 24-year-old finished with match figures of 12/168. At stumps on day four, Vidarbha were on the driver’s seat, needing only three wickets to wrap up the innings.
Karnataka on the other hand, had a tall ask, needing 85 runs to win but the momentum shifted with Abhimmanyu Mithun (33) and skipper Vinay Kumar (36) led a valiant fight as the momentum of the match shifted. Mithun, who was finding the boundaries at will, and Shreyas Gopal added 48 runs for the tenth wicket.
Yet another burst from Gurbani ended Karnataka’s resistance as Mithun and Sreenath Aravind departed to the pavilion, sending Vidarbha into raptures. In the second innings, Faiz Fazal’s side had spinner Aditya Sarwate’s battling 55 to thank for managing to get to set a competitive target of 196.