Ranji Trophy final: Vidarbha vs Saurashtra - Road to summit clash
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Ranji Trophy final: Vidarbha vs Saurashtra - Road to summit clash

Saurashtra would like to forget their two Ranji Trophy finals as they lost by an innings to Mumbai in 2013 and 2016. Vidarbha on the other hand played their first-ever Ranji final last year and they beat Delhi to win the title.

cricket Updated: Jan 30, 2019 18:02 IST
Rohan Pathak
Rohan Pathak
New Delhi
Ranji Trophy final,Road to summit clash,Vidarbha vs Saurashtra
File image of Cheteshwar Pujara.(AFP)

The Ranji Trophy final is set up beautifully with one-time winners Vidarbha taking on two-time finalists Saurashtra in Nagpur on Sunday. Saurashtra would like to forget their two Ranji Trophy finals as they lost by an innings to Mumbai in 2013 and 2016. Vidarbha on the other hand played their first-ever Ranji final last year and they beat Delhi to win the title.

Vidarbha and Saurashtra were tied on 29 points in Elite Group A and B at the end of the group stage, but since Vidarbha had a better net run rate, they faced Plate group toppers Uttarakhand in the quarter-final and Saurashtra took on second placed Elite Group C team Uttar Pradesh.

Both the finalists won three and drew five matches in the group stage.

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Quarter-finals

Centuries from Wasim Jaffer, Sanjay Ramaswamy and Aditya Sarwate sealed the deal for Vidarbha in the quarter-final against Uttarakhand. The home posted a whopping 629 in reply to their opponent’s total of 355. Uttarakhand lost by an innings and 115 runs after being dismissed for 159 runs. Umesh Yadav and Aditya Sarwate took five wickets each.

Saurashtra were in a spot of bother in the quarter-final against Uttar Pradesh when they conceded a lead of 177 runs. However, spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and fast bowler Chetan Sakariya pulled back things for Saurashtra by taking seven wickets between them. Uttar Pradesh were bowled out for 194.

A century by opening batsman Harvik Desai and gritty half-centuries by Snell Patel, Cheteshwar Pujara and Sheldon Jackson helped Saurashtra chase down a target of 372 with six wickets in hand.

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Semi-finals

Vidarbha won their semi-final against Kerala by an innings as well, but this time the big win was credited to their fantastic bowling effort. Umesh Yadav took a seven wicket-haul in the first innings to help Vidarbha dismiss Kerala for just 106 runs. After Vidarbha replied with 208 runs, Umesh Yadav was on the go once again in the second innings. The fast bowler picked up five wickets and Kerala were all out for a mere 91 runs. The defending champions booked a place in the final with an innings and 11 runs victory.

Cheteshwar Pujara came to the fore for Saurashtra in the semi-final against Karnataka when the team found itself in a spot of bother once again. They were reduced to 23/3 while they were chasing a stiff target of 279. Then, Pujara and Sheldon Jackson shared a partnership of 214 runs to help Saurashtra win the match by five wickets. Jackson fell for 100 runs, while Pujara remained unbeaten on 131.

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Pujara may have saved the day, but he wasn’t appreciated by the Bengaluru crowd since he was given a reprieve in each of the innings of the match. The umpire declared him not out when the gritty batsman gloved the ball in the first innings and nicked the ball to the keeper in the second innings. In the first innings it was clear that Pujara had gloved the ball, but in the second innings the replays didn’t have conclusive evidence that Pujara had nicked the ball. Since, Pujara didn’t walk on both the occasions, the fans in the stands called him a cheater.

After playing all over the world and dealing with all kinds of fans, Pujara will surely be unfazed with such things and focus on helping Saurashtra win their first-ever Ranji Trophy title.

First Published: Jan 30, 2019 18:00 IST