Nagpur/Indore: Vidarbha produced a brilliant all-round show against seven-time champions Delhi in the final as they clinched their maiden Ranji Trophy title in sublime style at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Monday.
Vidarbha were set a target of 29 runs to clinch their title after Delhi were bundled out for just 280 in their second innings. Vidarbha chased down the target with comfortable ease despite losing skipper Faiz Fazal early in their second innings.
Experienced star Wasim Jaffer hit the winning runs for Vidarbha as he won the Ranji Trophy for ninth time in his career. Jaffer kept his invincible record going as he has now featured in nine Ranji finals and has managed to come out victorious in all of them.
Earlier, Vidarbha were finally dismissed for 547 in their first innings on the fourth day of the final. At stumps on the third day of the final, Vidarbha had scored a mammoth 528 for seven, courtesy wicket-keeper Akshay Wadkar who slammed his maiden ton.
Vidarbha could only add 19 runs to their overnight score as Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya cleaned up the tail. Wadkar’s 133-run innings included sixteen fours and one massive six. There were as many as four half-centurions for Vidarbha, as Faiz Fazal, Wasim Jaffer, Aditya Sarwate and Siddhesh Neral all crossing the 50-run mark.
Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant lacked ideas in the field and Vidarbha batsmen made merry as took a massive 252-run lead in the final.
Following a poor show with the bat in their first innings and then with the ball during Vidarbha’s batting, Delhi needed a good start from their openers Kunal Chandela and Gautam Gambhir to stay alive in the match, however, they could not to do so as Chandela was dismissed for just 9 by Wakhare.
Gambhir too followed suit as he was trapped LBW by in-from bowler Rajneesh Gurbani for 32. Reeling at 50/2, Delhi finally got a partnership going when Nitish Rana joined Dhruv Shorey in the middle.
Both went on to slam their respective fifties as they put on a 114-run stand for the third wicket. But this partnership was finally broken by Sarwate, who got rid of Shorey for 62. Rana too lost his concentration soon after Shorey’s dismissal as he became Gurbani’s second scalp of the innings.
Delhi then lost half their side when Himmat Singh was castled by Wakhare for a duck. Skipper Pant tried to remain positive amidst the ruins as he hit three boundaries and one huge maximum. However, his innings was cut short by Neral for 32. Manan Sharma was the next to depart for Delhi as he too was clean bowled by Wakhare for just 8.
Navdeep Saini then became Wakhare’s fourth scalp of the day for 5. Vikas Mishra and Akash Sudan hit few boundaries at the end to delay the inevitable, but Sarwate dismissed both as Delhi were finally all-out for 280 in their second innings.
Rajneesh Gurbani was named the man-of-the-match for the final as he ended with excellent figures of 6/59 and 2/92 in the two innings respectively. During the first Delhi innings, Gurbani scalped a hat-trick to become only the second cricketer ever to do so in the final of Ranji Trophy.