Ranji Trophy 2017-18, Final, Day 4 Review: Vidarbha lift Ranji Trophy for the first time in history
It was good to see the Ranji legend Wasim Jaffer scoring the winning run as the 39-year-old pulled the ball towards fine-leg and embarked a memorable party session for his teammates.
Updated - Jan 1, 2018 5:55 pm
Not the wings, but self-belief is what helps you fly in reality. What can be a better example than this, underdogs Vidarbha knocked everyone away to lift their maiden Ranji Trophy in such a long history. It was good to see the Ranji legend Wasim Jaffer scoring the winning run as the 39-year-old pulled the ball towards fine-leg and embarked a memorable party session for his teammates.
Who in the world would’ve expected Vidarbha to come this far? Never do they enter the tournament as favorites and despite reaching the finals this time, the odds were favoring 7-time champions Delhi to make it 8 titles. But just the way it happened last year, we have a new bunch of people taking the crown. Who says Ranji Cricket is all about Mumbai?
Vidarbha had a healthy 252-lead before going into the fourth day. But Delhi started the game on a high by bowling them out on their overnight score. After resuming the day at 547/7, they got bowled out for the same total. Despite the little momentum they managed to gain, the first innings lead they conceded was too huge.
Spinners clinch the game on day 4
It was always going to be impossible to rescue the situation for Delhi and eventually, that’s what happened. Dhruv Shorey, the centurion from the first game, scored another half-century in the second innings. Nitish Rana gave him good company with a brilliant 64. Whilst these both were going on, Delhi was just about making inroads in the game but the spinners sabotaged their mission.
Akshay Wakhare and Aditya Sarwate ran riot and wickets kept falling at regular intervals. After looking in a decent position at 164-2, they stumbled and lost half their side for 190. The game started to tilt towards the Western Indian side from then on and the hopes of completing the game inside four days were pretty much on.
Vikas Mishra in the lower order played some big shots and kept his side in the game. Akash Sudan too hit a boundary and a six, which only helped them condense the first innings total of their opponents. As it turned out, they got bowled out for 280 and their biggest achievement for the day was making Vidarbha bat again.
The eventual man of the match, Rajneesh Gurbani, picked up two wickets in the second innings and registered figures of 8/151 in the match. Akshay Wakhare picked up four crucial wickets whilst Aditya Sarwate picked up three wickets in the 9 overs he bowled. 29 runs separated them and the trophy and it was clear that Faiz Fazal will lay his hands on the trophy on the first day of the year.
A mere formality in the end
It obviously was going to be a mere formality to go and hit the winning runs for Vidarbha. Skipper Fazal would be extremely disappointed to have got dismissed in this short-little run chase. Nevertheless, Wasim Jaffer smashed four boundaries in Kulwant Khejroliya’s over and the final boundary of the four broke the deadlock and clinched them the title that matters the most.
A fairytale campaign for Vidarbha and surely, their hard work and perseverance must be appreciated. They had some tight games like the one against Karnataka, but they stood tall and averted the hot favorites a place in the final. That’s it for the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 edition and arguably the best possible way to start 2018 to see the dark horses finish the race ahead of everyone else.
Delhi first innings: 295 all out in 102.5 overs (Dhruv Shorey 145; Rajneesh Gurbani 6/59)
Vidarbha first innings: 547 all out in 163.4 overs (Akshay Wadkar 133, Aditya Sarwate 79, Siddesh Neral 74)
Delhi second innings: 280 all out in 76 overs (Nitish Rana 64, Dhruv Shorey 62; Akshay Wakhare 4/95, Aditya Sarwate 3/30)
Vidarbha second innings (Target 29): 32/1 in 5 overs
Player of the match: Rajneesh Gurbani