Ranji Trophy: Vidarbha beat Saurashtra to retain title

Vidarbha thus joined Mumbai, Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka and Rajasthan as teams to have won two or more successive titles previously. (PTI Photo)

Vidarbha became only the sixth team to win back-to-back Ranji Trophy titles following their 78-run defeat of Saurashtra here on Thursday.

Resuming at their overnight score of 58/5 in pursuit of 206-run target, Saurashtra folded for 127 on the final day of the summit clash here at VCA’s Jamtha Stadium. Man of the match Aditya Sarwate (49, 5/98 & 6/59), who had run through visitors’ top-order on a penultimate evening, claimed his five-wicket haul of the match to headline hosts’ triumph in front of a small but raucous home crowd.

Vidarbha thus joined Mumbai, Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka and Rajasthan as teams to have won two or more successive titles previously.

Overnight batsman Vishvaraj Jadeja (52, 137b, 6x4) kept Saurashtra’s thinnest of hopes alive with a battling half-century but his attempted sweep off Sarwate spelt his doom. The right-hander missed the ball and was hit in front of wickets for umpire Anil Chaudhary to raise his dreaded finger. The Vidarbha camp erupted in joy even as Vishvaraj trudged back reluctantly, perhaps in the knowledge that Saurashtra’s dream of winning the maiden Ranji Trophy will remain a dream this year too. This was Saurashtra’s third defeat in the final in the last seven seasons, having come up short against Mumbai in 2012-13 and 2015-16 seasons.     

Sarwate gave the breakthrough in the morning by cleaning up Kamlesh Makvana who erroneously left the ball alone to crash into his off-stump. That ended the 38-run stand, stretching from the previous night. Akshay Karnewar then got into act with the off-spinner trapping Prerak Mankad.

Vishvaraj Jadeja, however, remained impregnable and given the trend of lower-order stands in this match, Vidarbha knew the importance of his wicket and Sarwate ended the right-hander’s resistance. Then on, it was matter of when rather than whether Vidarbha would wrap up the proceedings. And fittingly, it was Sarwate’s catch off last man Dharmendrasinh Jadeja in the deep that signalled Vidarbha’s victory and wild celebrations.

Brief scores: Vidarbha: 312 all out and 200 all out bt Saurashtra: 307 and 127 all out in 58.4 overs (Vishvaraj Jadeja 52; Aditya Sarwate 6-59, Akshay Wakhare 3-37).

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Ranji Trophy: Vidarbha beat Saurashtra to retain title

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