Vidarbha clinch thriller to knock Karnataka out

Vidarbha clinch thriller to knock Karnataka out

In what was a match for the ages, Vidarbha knocked Karnataka out of the Ranji Trophy with a five-run win.

It was a case of so near yet to so far for Karnataka, who fought hard to almost pull off an improbable task on the fifth and final day here at the Eden Gardens.  Resuming from 111/7, Karnataka were all out for 192.

Rajneesh Gurbani's sensational spell of 7/68 was the highlight of Vidarbha's spectacular comeback. Faiz Fazal men's win over Karnataka, the tournament favourites, has taken them to their maiden Ranji final.

Karnataka fought like a champion team with cameos from Vinay (36), Abhimanyu Mithun (33) and Shreyas Gopal (24 n.o.) taking them close to the target.

There was no clear winner as fortunes swung both ways but Vidarbha had the last laugh when Gurbani got the final wicket of S Arvind. Vidarbha player broke into tears of joy as they scripted history.

When the day began, Vidarbha were firmly on top and it was their match to lose. The splendid bowling from Umesh Yadav (1/65), Gurbani and Siddesh Neral (2/37) on the fourth day had left very little hope for Karnataka.

But Karnataka showed stomach for a fight much to the worry of the Vidarbha camp. Too many loose balls made the job easier for Karnataka as Vinay and Shreyas threatened to take the game away from Vidarbha. Vinay, after playing sensibly for his 36, got out to a poor shot. In the last ball of the over 50th over, that had already given Karnataka three boundaries, Vinay attempted a cut away from the body to be caught behind as Gurbani scalped his fifth wicket.

Mithun however kept Karnataka in the hunt with a counter-attacking approach. He went after the duo of Umesh and Gurbani to ease the pressure. When left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate was introduced, he scored two fours of him to bring Karnataka to touching distance of victory.

With only nine runs required, Mithun went for a huge shot and paid the price. He tried to hoik Gurbani but a offered a catch straight to third-man. That was the breakthrough Vidarbha needed and one over later, they emerged victorious.

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