Vidarbha claim Irani Cup, complete first-class double
The result of the Irani Cup was a foregone conclusion after Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha had, after piling up 800/7 declared, reduced Rest of India to 236/6 overnight at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadiumcricket Updated: Mar 18, 2018 22:07 IST
Vidarbha capped a brilliant 2017-18 season with a domestic first-class double by lifting the Irani Cup on Sunday after the match against Rest of India ended in a tame draw on the fifth and final day.
The result was a foregone conclusion after Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha had, after piling up 800/7 declared, reduced Rest of India to 236/6 overnight at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.
Vidarbha achieved a distinction, remaining unbeaten through the domestic first-class season. They have won seven and drawn three of the 10 first class-matches they have played this season.
Vidarbha, who won their maiden Ranji Trophy title in the first week of January, became the ninth team to win the Irani Cup. Rest of India (28 times), Mumbai (15 times), Karnaraka (six times), Delhi (twice), Railways (twice), Hyderabad (once), Tamil Nadu (once) and Haryana (once) are the other winners.
Rest of India were all out for 390 and Vidarbha reached 79 for no loss in their second innings when play ended as a draw and the winner was picked on first innings lead. Though Rest ceded a 410-run lead, two players made the most of the chance.
Andhra skipper Hanuma Vihari, 81 not out overnight, went on to score 183 while Jayant Yadav underlined his all-rounder’s credentials before being dismissed for 96.
The 24–year-old Vihari (183 – 327 balls, 23x4, 3x6), who hit a triple century against Odisha in the Ranji Trophy in October, held firm despite the team crumbling under pressure.
Hanuma Vihari shared in a 216-run seventh wicket partnership with Jayant Yadav to give some respectability to the total after Rest had been reduced to 98/6 following pace bowler Rajneesh Gurbani’s early strikes on Saturday.
Yadav missed out on his century, stumped against left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate in a marginal decision. Hanuma Vihari was the last man out, holing out Sarwate to Apoorv Wankhade at the long on fence.
The Rest of India bowlers was exposed on a good batting pitch, though Vidarbha bowlers cashed in on the pressure built by the Ranji champions’ mammoth first innings total, led by Wasim Jaffer’s 286.
India off-spinner R Ashwin had a forgettable outing. Having returned a measly 1/129 from almost 44 overs in the first innings, he did not to bowl when Vidarbha batted for 26 overs the second time.
Vidarbha skipper, Faiz Fazal, said after the match: “I’m glad we played as a unit. Winning is icing on the cake. It was a big season for us and I am really happy how the players performed throughout the season.”
Wasim Jaffer, the Man-of-the-Match, said: “This was a huge match for us. I am very pleased to deliver in a big match. I ensure I give my 100% in every match I play.”
Vidarbha 800/7 decl (F Fazal 89, W Jaffer 286, G Satish 120, A Wankhade 157, S Kaul 2/91, R Ashwin 1/129) & 79/0 (A Wadkar 50no); Rest of India 390 (P Shaw 51, H Vihari 183, J Yadav 96, R Gurbani 4/70, U Yadav 2/72, A Sarwate 3/97). Match drawn, Vidarbha win on first innings lead.