In cricket, it is often said that some players are meant for the big occasions. On Saturday, Vidarbha’s Rajneesh Gurbani proved the saying right for himself when he went on to take a hat-trick against Delhi to restrict the opposition’s total to 295. The right-arm medium fast bowler clean bowled Vikas Mishra and Navdeep Saini in his 23rd over in the last two deliveries.
Returning to bowl for his 24th over, he again rattled Dhruv Shorey’s stumps in the first ball to take his maiden first-class cricket hat-trick. With his achievement, Gurbani became only the second bowler to take a hat-trick in Ranji Trophy Final after B Kalyanasundaram for Tamil Nadu against Bombay in 1972/73 in Chennai.
Three balls after completing his hat-trick, Gurbani again rattled Kulwant Khejroliya’s stumps to end Delhi’s innings. He took 6 wickets in the match, as he had dismissed Rishabh Pant and Himmat Singh on the first day. The best bit about his efforts came from the fact that he suffered an ankle injury on Friday, which made him left the field in the middle of the over for 30 minutes.
After bowling his 23rd over on Saturday, Gurbani again complained of pain and received medical help from the staff on the boundary during Aditya Thakare’s over. He returned to action few minutes later to complete the hat-trick and restrict Delhi to a low total.
Gurbani was also the star in the semifinal where he took a total of 12 wickets, including a seven-for in the second innings to gain a thrilling victory against Karnataka. He was also awarded the man-of-the-match award for his achievements.