Ranji Trophy final: Game hangs in balance

Rather by happenstance than any design, defending champions Vidarbha and Saurashtra have dished out three days of entertaining cricket even if the quality hasn’t been that great.

The dogged fightbacks by the batsmen, a fast bowler’s fury and frustration, spinners’ delight at dismissals and despair at dropped catches, the gripping battle for lead – it was first-class cricket at its engaging best.

At stumps on the middle day of the Ranji Trophy final, Vidarbha finished their second innings at 55 for two in 31 overs for an overall lead of 60. Saurashtra were dismissed for 307, just five runs short of hosts’ first innings total, with minutes left for tea on Tuesday. Having conceded the lead, albeit an insignificant one, Saurashtra had to do all the running to get an outright result and they might just be on the way after dismissing both the openers.

A promoted Ganesh Satish (24 n.o.) and Wasim Jaffer (5 n.o.) were at the crease and Vidarbha will bank on these experienced campaigners to help them post a total beyond Saurashtra’s reach.          

Earlier, Saurashtra, overnight 158/5, were fortunate to take their total past 300 despite being reduced to 222/8 and then 247/9. But then fortune favours the brave. Jaffer dropped Kamlesh Makwana on nine off Akshay Karnewar in a total of 194/7 and he went on score 27 and also added 28 runs for the eighth wicket and 25 runs for the ninth-wicket.  

Jaffer was the culprit again when he spilled an edge from Chetan Sakariya on zero off Akshay Wakhare with the total reading 248/9. The right-hander not only scored 28 but raised 65 for the last wicket with skipper Jaydev Unadkat (46, 101b, 4x4) who was the last man to get out after a 116-minute partnership.  

SCORE BOARD

VIDARBHA (I Innings): 312 all out

SAURASHTRA (I Innings; O/n: 158/5): Harvik Desai lbw Sarwate 10 (14m, 9b, 2x4), Snell Patel c Wadkar b Umesh 102 (209b, 15x4), Vishvaraj Jadeja lbw Sarwate 18 (94m, 72b, 1x4), Cheteshwar Pujara c Jaffer b Sarwate 1 (16m, 11b), Arpit Vasavada c Jaffer b Wakhare 13 (43m, 40b, 1x4), Sheldon Jackson c Wadkar b Wakhare 9 (20m, 23b, 1x4), Prerak Mankad lbw Sarwate 21 (62b, 2x4), Kamlesh Makwana c Jaffer b Wakhare 27 (61b, 3x4), Dharmendrasinh Jadeja c Jaffer b Sarwate 23 (32b, 2x4, 1x6), Jaydev Unadkat c Sanjay R b Wakhare 46 (101b, 4x4), Chetan Sakariya (not out) 28 (82b, 4x4). Extras (B-5, LB-4) 9. Total (all out, 117 overs) 307.

Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Desai), 2-79 (V Jadeja), 3-81 (Pujara), 4-115 (Vasavada), 5-131 (Jackson), 6-173 (Mankad), 7-184 (Snell), 8-222 (D Jadeja), 9-247 (Makwana).

Bowling: Rajneesh Gurbani 8-3-13-0, Umesh Yadav 29-7-59-1, Aditya Sarwate 40-12-98-5, Akshay Karnewar 20-7-48-0, Akshay Wakhare 20-1-80-4.

VIDARBHA (II Innings): Faiz Fazal b D Jadeja 10 (45b), R Sanjay st (sub) A Barot b D Jadeja 16 (72b, 1x4), Ganesh Satish (batting) 24 (45b, 1x4, 1x6), Wasim Jaffer (batting) 5 (24b). Total (for 2 wkts, 31 overs) 55.   

Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Fazal), 2-45 (Sanjay).

Bowling: Jaydev Unadkat 8-3-7-0, Chetan Sakariya 4-2-2-0, Kamlesh Makwana 8-3-10-0, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 11-0-36-2.

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