Vidarbha script history by lifting maiden Ranji title
Vidarbha entered the history books by lifting their maiden title by beating favorites Delhi in the Ranji Trophy final by 9 wickets on day four at Indore. The result was never in doubt after Vidarbha ended the third day's play at 528/7, already 233 runs ahead of Delhi's total. With just minutes to go in the fourth day, Vidarbha became one of the most unlikely Ranji Trophy winners.
Veteran batsman Wasim Jaffer scored the winning runs as they knocked off the 29 they required with consummate ease. In doing so, Jaffer kept his incredible record of winning every Ranji Trophy final he has played in. This was his ninth Ranji title as a player.
The first wicket of the day fell when tail-ender Siddhesh Neral, who took his score from 56 to 74 adding 19 of the first 19 runs Vidarbha scored on the fourth morning, was dismissed. Neral's attempt to poke outside off stump gave Navdeep Saini his fourth wicket.
Vidarbha's wicket-keeper batsman Akshay Wadkar was unbeaten on 133 overnight but could not add any more runs to his tally as he and debutant Aditya Takhare fell in consecutive overs. A total of 547 meant they were 252 ahead with enough time to bowl Delhi out on the fourth day itself.
At 50/2, with both their openers back in the hut, Delhi's Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana battled against a spirited bowling unit of Rajneesh Gurbani, Akshay Wakhare and Aditya Sarwate. They added 114 in a promising stand, but Sarwate came from around the wicket and Shorey edged behind for 62. Soon after, Rana fell to Gurbani when a loose drive had him caught behind for 64.
The batting crumbled as soon as Sarwate and Wakhare found momentum and accuracy to remove one batsman after the other. Captain Rishab Pant entertained with 32 but did not last long, like Himmat Singh and Mana Sharma, who were both bowled by Wakhare. While Sarwate got 3/30, Wakhare ended with 4/95 and with just 280 on the board, all Vidarbha had to chase was 29.
Despite an early hiccup in the loss of captain Faiz Fazal, they knocked off the runs with ease, as veteran Wasim Jaffer fitting flicked and took his new team beyond the line.
Vidarbha 547 (Wadkar 133, Sarwate 79; Saini 5/135) and 32/1 (Jaffer 17*, R Sanjay 9*; Khejroliya 1/21) beat Delhi 295 (Shorey 145, Himmat Singh 66; Gurbani 6/59) and 280 (Rana 64, Shorey 62; Wakhare 4/95) by 9 wickets