Rajneesh Gurbani: All you need to know about Vidarbha's Ranji Trophy final hat-trick hero
Vidarbha's Rajneesh Gurbani became only the second bowler to bag a hat-trick in the final of Ranji Trophy. Playing against Delhi, the pacer picked the wickets of Vikas Mishra and Navdeep Saini on the last couple of deliveries of his 24th over. He then removed centurion Dhruv Shorey on the first ball of his next over, completing the hat-trick.
Gurbani then picked another wicket in the same over to help his side bowl out Delhi for 295 in the first innings. Remarkably, all four of these dismissals were bowled. He finished with figures of 6/59.
The only bowler to pick a hat-trick in a Ranji Trophy final before Gurbani was Tamil Nadu's B Kalyanasundaram who achieved the feat against Bombay in the 1972/73 final.
Here are the things you need to know about the 24-year-old pacer.
- Born in Nagpur in 1993, the pacer spent his first few years playing the sport in Mumbai and represented St Mary’s school in tournaments such as the Giles Shield.
- After moving back to Nagpur, Gurbani took up the sport seriously and joined a local club with an eye at becoming a professional cricketer.
- Son of a school principal and a civil engineer and brother of an IIT Kharagpur student, the Vidarbha cricketer graduated as a civil engineer himself.
- Gurbani made his first-class debut for Vidarbha last year in the Ranji Trophy against Jharkhand. He went on to bag 13 wickets in four matches of his debut season.
- While his List-A debut came in 2015 when he took the field for Vidarbha against Odisha, his T20 debut was against Gujarat in 2016.
- Gurbani didn't start the 2017/18 season strongly and was able to bag just four wickets in his first two matches. However, he came back strongly and got eight, seven and 12 in the next three encounters respectively.
- The pacer came into his own during the semi-final against a star-studded Karnataka team where he bagged five wickets in the first innings and seven in the second, helping Vidarbha to their first ever Ranji Trophy final.
- His 6/59 in the first innings of the final is his second-best Ranji Trophy figure after the 7/68 against Karnataka. Remarkably, all five of his best Ranji Trophy bowling performances have come this season itself.
- The pacer, who now has 18 wickets in his last three innings, wasn't on the field yesterday for some time because of an ankle injury but he came back to do what only one bowler had done before him - a Ranji Trophy final hat-trick.
- Gurbani now has 37 wickets in this season and is the second highest wicket-taker behind Kerala's Jalaj Saxena.