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On This Day in 2019: Vidarbha Beat Saurashtra by 78 runs to Defend Ranji Trophy Title


On this day in 2019, Vidarbha beat Saurashtra in the finals of Ranji Trophy by 78 runs to lift their second successive title and prove to their critics that the 2018 tournament win was no fluke. Spinner Aditya Sarwate starred for Vidarbha in the finals as the bowler claimed 11 wickets (5/98 & 6/59), leading his side to lift their second Ranji Trophy. Saurashtra gave their very best in Nagpur, however, it just wasn’t meant to be for the side as Vidarbha were clinical in their fielding and bowled smartly to outwit their opponents.

Vidarbha skipper Faiz Fazal won the toss and made a bold decision to bat first against Saurashtra. It was a wobbly start for the Maharashtra side as opener Sanjay Raghunath was dismissed for 2 by national bowler Jaydev Unadkat. After the first blow, a moment of madness saw skipper Fazal being run out and the score reading 29/2 in 10.1 overs. The ever-reliant Wasim Jaffer partnered with Mohit Kale before the veteran batter was removed by Unadkat for 23.

After a shaky start, Vidarbha pulled themselves together as the Akshay-trio comprising Akshay Wadkar (45), Akshay Karnewar (73) and Akshay Wakhare (34) chipped in with the much-needed runs as Vidarbha posted 312 before being bowled out.

Fighting back, Saurashtra were jolted early as opener Harvik Desai was dismissed for 10 in the second over. Shouldering Saurashtra’s innings was Snell Patel, who slammed a classy century before being removed for 102 by Umesh Yadav. Other than Patel, skipper Unadkat scored 46 as Saurashtra were bowled out for 307. Sarwate (5/98) and Wakhare (4/80) played a crucial role in keeping Saurashtra from taking the lead.

Saurashtra gave their very best in Nagpur, however, it just wasn’t meant to be for the side as Vidarbha were clinical in their fielding and bowled smartly to outwit their opponents. (Image: PTI file)

A momentum that Vidarbha could capitalise on, was short-lived as Saurashtra were able to bowl out the opposition for 200. The highest scorer of the innings was lower-order batter Aditya Sarwate with a heroic 49 runs.

Chasing 206, Saurashtra had the opportunity to finally put an end to their losing streak in the finals, however, Sarwate had other ideas in mind as the spinner removed openers Harvik Desai (12) and Snell Patel (8) early in the chase. The onus was on veteran Cheteshwar Pujara to help Saurashtra after sudden dismissals, but the experienced batter was trapped by Sarwate and dismissed for a duck.

By 17.5 overs, Saurashtra were at 4/35 and were staring at their chances slipping away. While Vishvraj Jadeja held on, the rest of the Saurashtra batters were being removed and were unable to handle Sarwate’s spells, with Jadeja being outsmarted by Sarwate who led Vidarbha to victory. It was not meant to be for Saurashtra as the side were bundled out for 127 and lost yet another final as Vidarbha held their nerve to clinch the 2019 Ranji Trophy in Nagpur.

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