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Wadkar-Sarwate take Vidarbha closer to historic Ranji Trophy title

Abhi Ambulkar
CONTRIBUTOR
News
271   //    31 Dec 2017, 19:16 IST

Akshay Wadkar
Akshay Wadkar celebrating his maiden century

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That’s what Vidarbha's batsmen displayed on Day 3, giving their side a great chance of lifting their maiden Ranji Trophy title. At the end of the third day’s play, Vidarbha are comfortably placed at 528/7, ahead by 233 runs. 

Delhi seized the initiative

Vidarbha started the day at 206/4. However, in the very first over of the day, Saini produced an opportunity for Delhi. He got the ball to come back in and Jaffer couldn't get on top of it, edging to slip where Kunal Chandela made a mess of it. It was a costly mistake and the expression of the Delhi coach said it all. The dropped catch drop meant Jaffer continued to bat and he helped Vidarbha tackle the fiery spell of Saini without exposing the lower order.

Quickly, Jaffer found his feet and started playing his shots. Wakhare, on the other hand, was looking to play sensibly. He first hit Saini for a wonderful cover drive on the front foot and then another boundary off the very next ball. However, he then edged one that flew over the slips for the third consecutive boundary of the over. Saini though had the last laugh when Wakhare edged one to the keeper while trying to guide one to third man.

Wadkar, who joined Jaffer at the crease, opened his account with a cracking square cut off the bowling of Khejroliya. At the other end, Saini, Delhi’s best bowler, trapped Jaffer in front of the stumps. It was a massive wicket for Delhi.

Vidarbha were in big trouble with the scoreboard reading 246/6. The new ball was due in 2 overs and Vidarbha had two new batsmen at the crease with Saini breathing fire.

Sarwate-Wadkar partnership turns the tables

It was an absorbing contest with the Delhi bowlers bowling impeccable lines and the Vidarbha batsmen ready to fight it out.

Sarwate hit Sudan for two boundaries in the same over and every run brought cheers from the dressing room. Delhi needed another wicket as Wadkar and Sarwate were batting positively. Things didn’t go according to plan though even after the second new ball was taken as Saini walked off the field in the 84th over in obvious discomfort.

A slap from Wadkar straight down the ground then leveled the scores. Delhi lost the plot soon after as they conceded boundaries freely.

By the lunch interval, Wadkar and Sarwate had added 90 runs for the 7th wicket, handing Vidarbha a crucial 41 run lead.

Vidarbha consolidate after lunch

After lunch, both the batsmen slowed down and looked to build from where they had left off. As Vidarbha took control of the match, Delhi's bowlers began to err. Wadkar and Sarwate hit some wonderful shots. Anything short and wide was easily put away. Chances were hard to come by for Delhi but when they did come, they made a mess of it. Pant missed a stumping chance off Sarwate and two overs later he was again given a reprieve, this time from the short leg fielder.

Vidarbha pile on the runs

Nitish Rana finally broke the 169-run partnership by dismissing Sarwate for 79 runs. The damage was done though and Vidarbha had a healthy lead of 120. Wadkar then went on to score his maiden hundred. Neral, who is known mainly for his bowling, decided to show off his batting prowess, notching a fifty. The unbeaten eighth-wicket partnership between Neral and Wadkar punctured the hopes of the Delhi team.

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Abhi Ambulkar
CONTRIBUTOR
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