Vidarbha win maiden Ranji Trophy
By Abhishek Hore
Indore, Jan 1 (PTI) Vidarbha claimed their maiden Ranji Trophy after beating Delhi by nine wickets in the final of Indias premier domestic tournament here today.
Chasing a target of 29, Vidarbha completed the task with loss of skipper Faiz Fazals wicket.
Opting to field, Vidarbha bowled out Delhi for 295 in the first innings with Rajneesh Gurbani picking up six wickets.
In reply, Vidarbha notched up a mammoth 547 all out, as Akshay Wadkar struck his maiden century in first-class cricket.
Overnight 528 for seven with wicketkeeper Wadkar unbeaten on 133, Delhi quickly picked up the remaining three wickets in the morning.
Young pacer Navdeep Saini was the most successful bowler for Delhi, returning figures of 5 for 135 after bowling a marathon 36.3 overs.
Delhi were a bowler short through the Vidarbha first innings as left-arm spinner Manan Sharma remained off the field due to a knee injury. Manan, though, batted in the second innings.
In their second innings, Delhi were all out for 280 with Shorey scoring another half-century a 142-ball 62 while Nitish Rana struck 64.
Vidarbha chased down the 29-run target with a day to spare at the Holkar Stadium, which hosted the title clash of the tournament for the second successive time.
Trailing by 252 runs, Delhi lost opener Kunal Chandela with just 32 runs on the board. And a bigger blow was dealt on the seven-time winners when their most experienced campaigner, Gautam Gambhir, in what looked like a debatable decision, was adjudged out lbw off Gurbani to a ball that seemed to be heading down the leg side.
The out-of-favour India opener looked in good touch during his quick 36 off 37 balls (32 coming in boundaries), and could have helped Delhis cause had he stayed longer.
First-innings centurion Shorey and Rana then added 110 runs for the third wicket.
The second session saw Shorey and Rana playing freely, hitting some lovely drives and flicks. However, as the team score reached 164, Delhi lost Shorey, who was given a reprieve by Wasim Jaffer in first slip, to the left-arm spin of Aditya Sarwate.
Rana followed suit as he nicked the impressive Gurbani to Wadkar behind the stumps. Like in the first innings, Gurbani was again bowling his heart out and swung the new ball to good effect.
Himmat Singh, who had a fifty in the first essay, was bowled by off-spinner Akshay Wakhare before he could open his account.
And then came a reckless shot by skipper Rishabh Pant (32), an attempted heave off Siddhesh Neral leading to his dismissal as Delhi ran out of batting options. This was an over after Pant was let off by Wadkar, who missed an easy stumping chance