Highlights, Day Five: Vidarbha clinches Irani Cup title

Vidarbha's batsmen batted judiciously on Day Five before the teams agreed to a draw. Due to its first-innings lead, Vidarbha clinched the title.

Vidarbha became only the third State team to win consecutive Irani Cup titles. Photo: PTI

Rest of India 330 and 374 for 3 dec. drew with Vidarbha 425 and 269 for 5 (G. Satish 87, A. Taide 72).                                                  Vidarbha wins Irani Cup.

 

3.57 pm: Vidarbha becomes the third State team, after Mumbai and Karnataka, to clinch two Irani Cup titles in a row. The side rounds off two successful domestic seasons with this trophy.

However, in this contest, the Rest of India side fought equally well, and if the first-innings lead wasn't a factor, could have dominated the rest of the contest as well. On Day Four, Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer featured in an entertaining exhibition of batting that exasperated Vidarbha. Rahane said setting a target of 250-260 was the consideration, and therefore the fun had to stop.

Of course, Vidarbha's batsmen learnt a thing or two from Vihari & Co. to compile runs well on Day Five, at the end of which it went up to its fans to show them the trophy.

Well might the team celebrate, as it deserves to, but on a personal front, it was also an occasion for Vihari to be pleased. He scored centuries in both innings, and his unbeaten 180 in the second innings was a treat — he used the crease well to play his strokes all around the ground, and repeatedly stepped outside his crease to tonk the bowlers over their heads.

He was one of the main highlights of the intriguing contest, a good way to finish the 2018-19 red-ball season.

A reminder, then, of what happened — the teams agreed to a draw and by the virtue of first-innings lead, Vidarbha clinched the title.

The fourth-innings score was 269 for 5; it needed 11 more runs for an outright win.

Thanks for tuning in to our coverage. Until the next sparkling cricket occasion, it's goodbye.

3.51 pm: Faiz Fazal is elated at his team having done well without its stalwarts Umesh Yadav and Wasim Jaffer. And he announces that the team will dedicate the prize money to the martyrs of the terrorist attack in Jammu & Kashmir on Friday, before assembling with the side to lift the trophy.

Ajinkya Rahane, the Rest of India captain, rues the batting collapse in the first innings — the side had lost eight wickets for 110 runs. He congratulates Vidarbha and says other teams should learn from the side.

The Man of the Match is Akshay Karnewar for his century in the first innings that rescued Vidarbha in the first innings and helped provide a lower-order resistance. The ambidextrous cricketer smiles and says he will hold the trophy with both hands.

3.39 pm: Inexplicably, the teams have decided to shake hands and call it a draw, after Satish pulls a delivery from part-timer Hanuma Vihari and is caught by a substitute fielder at the deep midwicket boundary. Vidarbha was 11 runs away from victory. What prompted the side not to continue to contest?

The Irani Cup, nonetheless, goes to Vidarbha, as it had the crucial first-innings lead.

An entertaining contest had perhaps an underwhelming ending. Strangely, wickets became harder to get for both teams as the contest wore on. Rest of India had recovered well in the contest after conceding a first-innings lead, but a sporting declaration by Ajinkya Rahane, to allow his bowlers enough time to get a result, changed the scenario.

3.28 pm: Satish moves into the 80s with a drive through extra-cover for four. He bisected the short cover and short mid-off fielders perfectly and Tanveer, who ran to prevent the boundary, stuck out his boot; the ball stopped but due to the momentum trickled over the rope.

Satish was then surprised by a delivery that turned and bounced. It nearly took the outside edge, but not quite. Then, he collected another boundary, this time through third man, off a short delivery to move to 87.

3.23 pm: Jadeja bowls an accurate over from over-the-wicket. He has a shout for lbw when Wadkar comes forward to defend a delivery outside off-stump. Did the ball hit the pad first? It doesn't matter, as point of impact was outside the off-stump, and it wasn't going to hit the stumps anyway. The umpire isn't amused.

3.19 pm: Jadeja grins after a delivery goes between the legs of the batsman — Wadkar — and runs away for four byes behind the wicketkeeper. Ishan Kishan hadn't covered the ball well, perhaps as he couldn't sight it very well, and it evaded his gloves.

3.13 pm: Jadeja manages to get Satish to edge a delivery. It's the final delivery of the 98th over of the innings. Satish tries to play a cut shot, and the edge flies to Rahane at slip; it goes past him in a flash, although it would be classified as a drop. Satish moves on to 74.

3.08 pm: Chahar switches to a negative line. Bowling from around-the-wicket, he gets the deliveries to pitch outside leg stump and turn into the batsmen. He makes an appeal for lbw to a delivery that pitches considerably outside leg stump. When he goes on with his appeal for long, the umpire gestures to him to calm down.

Satish receives a short, wide delivery and puts it away to the boundary, punching the ball off the back foot. Thirty one more runs to win for Vidarbha.

3.03 pm: Chahar bowls a probing line, on or outside off-stump. Satish confidently defends the deliveries off the front foot or back-foot. The final delivery of the over is wayward, it drifts down leg and Satish flicks it for a single.

2.58 pm: Wadkar collects his second boundary off the same bowler. This time, he rocks back to a short delivery and slices it to the point boundary. Chahar makes an expression of disappointment. Vidarbha is in total control of its chase.

2.55 pm: Welcome back. Akshay Wadkar is the new batsman. He gets off the mark with a pull for a boundary  off Chahar.

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TEA: Vidarbha 425 and 229 for 4 (A. Taide 72, G. Satish 62 n.o., R. Sanjay 42) needs 51 more runs to beat Rest of India 330 and 374 for 3 dec.

 

2.23 pm: A wicket, finally, but perhaps too little, too late for Rest of India. Kale is the batsman dismissed. He looks to repeat a sweep shot that he had played earlier in the over by Jadeja for a boundary, but gets the bottom-edge. It balloons to the fielder positioned at square leg — Tanveer-ul-Haq — who takes an easy offering. Kale, having scored 27 (90b, 5X4), trudges back to the dressing room slowly.

Jadeja smiles with relief, and there is not much celebration from Rest of India. With that dismissal, it's tea, at the VCA Stadium. Fifty one runs more needed for Vidarbha, with one session of play left.

2.16 pm: Jadeja balances it out with a maiden over. One of the deliveries nearly takes the outside edge, and nearly hits the off-stump, too. The ball spun after pitching on middle-and-leg, and the batsman didn't know whether to come forward or back to it, much like the ball of the century by Shane Warne to Mike Gatting in 1993. Jadeja reacts by placing his hand on his head, and the umpire gives out a mild smile, too.

2.13 pm: Three fours and a brace coming from the latest over bowled by Chahar. The strategy seems to be to make the batsman play, or drive, in order to induce a mistake and thereby a wicket. But Satish accepts the challenge and drives thrice — twice for boundaries, through extra cover and third man. The first one was off a short delivery, and it gave him his half-century. Just 57 more needed now, for Vidarbha.

2.08 pm: Jadeja induces an error from Kale, who drags his feet out of the crease to play an aggressive stroke through the off-side. He misses the ball, but the wicketkeeper cannot collect it; he fumbles and the opportunity is lost.

2.05 pm: Rajpoot cannot make a dent with the new ball, and instead, gives away runs. Seven runs are taken from his 15th over; Kale gets a boundary with a cut shot for four, and then collects two off the next delivery, punching the ball off the back-foot.

2.00 pm: Slip, cover, short mid-off for Jadeja as he bowls the first over with the new ball. Kale sweeps off one of the deliveries — it pitched on middle-stump — and the ball carries to the short long-leg fielder on the bounce. Jadeja finishes the over with an accurate ball that pitches on off-stump and turns away from the hung bat of Satish; it was quite close to the outside edge.

1.55 pm: Another accurate over from Rajpoot. And once more, a yorker-length delivery is dug out and a single is run. It takes the partnership to 50. Eighty four runs required now and the new ball is taken.

1.51 pm: Vidarbha gets four runs closer to the target as Kale collects a boundary off a sweep shot. Off-spinner Anmolpreet the bowler.

1.48 pm: An accurate over bowled by Rajpoot. Good length, off-stump channel, angling into the right-hand batsmen. He goes around the wicket for a change, and bowls a yorker-length delivery outside off-stump; Kale digs it out and the batsmen steal a quick single. The contest seems to have decisively tilted in favour of Vidarbha.

1.39 pm: Satish goes on to the back-foot to redirect one of Chahar's deliveries to midwicket for a boundary. A lot of wrist-work involved in the stroke. Vidarbha 185 for 3 and needs 95 more runs to win.

1.35 pm: Rajpoot is hiding the ball when running in to bowl. But the reverse swing, if present, isn't too evident. He has a shout for lbw — more of a query — when one of his deliveries hits the pads of Kale. But the impact was outside the off-stump.

1.27 pm: Off a full delivery by Chahar, Satish drives straight. The ball, after brushing the right hand of the bowler, goes on to hit the stumps. The batsman at the non-strikers' end — Kale — had, however, grounded his bat in the crease before the bails were dislodged.

Chahar had initially seemed convinced a dismissal was effected. He even raised his finger to signal to his team-mates that he thought it was out.

1.22 pm: A loud shout for lbw by right-arm seamer Ankit Rajpoot, who has been brought back into the attack. Kale the batsman. The ball pitches outside the off-stump, angling into the right-hander, who tries to defend the delivery but the ball hits the pads. The impact is marginally outside off-stump. It's not-out.

1.09 pm: Satish uses his wrists to turn a delivery to midwicket to collect a boundary. It is a poor end to the accurate over by Chahar; the bowler erred for once, drifting down leg, and the batsman took full toll. Vidarbha 171 for 3. Target is 280.

1.04 pm: Satish moves to 30 with tuck to leg for two off Chahar. The leg-spinner is mixing his deliveries now. On the fifth ball, he flights it on off-stump and it pitches and turns away from the batsman who comes forward for a prod, and to finish the over, he follows it up with a ball that is quicker and has less flight. Satish goes to his back-foot to play it, managing to defend.

12.53 pm: Chahar creates more chances. Twice, Satish gets an outside edge, off deliveries that spin and turn. He prods forward, the ball takes the edge and goes to the vacant silly point region, and to Rahane at slip on the bounce.

After he takes a single, Kale is greeted by a more attacking field-setting. However, the delivery he receives is wayward; it's an overpitched delivery on leg-stump that he puts away to midwicket for a boundary.

12.50 pm: Jadeja gets turn and bounce. So much so that Kale leaves a delivery outside off that evades the wicketkeeper and the first slip. The batsmen run a single.

12.46 pm: Chahar has his hands on his head after Kale goes on to his back-foot to defend a delivery. If the ball hadn't hit the bat, it would have been a good shout. The batsmen are in danger of being dismissed if they play off the back-foot; perhaps, instead, they can try to reach to the pitch of the ball, as the Rest of India batsmen were doing on Friday.

12.43 pm: Mohit Kale is the new batsman. He opens his account with a flick to leg off a full delivery from off-spinner Anmolpreet Singh.

12.35 pm: A wicket for Rest of India, early in the session. Taide goes on to the back-foot to nudge a delivery from Chahar to the leg side, but he doesn't get bat on it. Instead, the ball hits the pad on the right leg, and the umpire raises his finger. The ball would have been hitting the leg-stump.

Rest of India would be glad to see the back of Taide, who had frustrated the side with his patient batting in the morning session, and his nagging partnership with Sanjay. He departs for a well-made 72 (185b, 8X4, 1X6).

12.28 pm: Welcome back. Chahar unsettles Satish with a sharply turning delivery that goes past the outside edge. Satish had come forward to play a tentative defensive stroke. However, he takes full toll of a full-toss that Chahar dishes up later; he drives it hard to get a boundary through extra-cover.

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LUNCH: Vidarbha 425 and 141 for 2 (Atharva Taide 71 n.o., R. Sanjay 42 n.o.) needs 139 more runs to beat Rest of India 330 and 374 for 3 dec.

 

11.49 am: The umpire displaces the bails to signal lunch, and with two sessions remaining, both teams are still in contention for a win. Sanjay's wicket was a shot in the arm for Rest of India as the opposition seemed to be running away with the contest in the morning.

One hundred and 39 more runs required to win for Vidarbha. Rest of India needs eight wickets.

11.46 am: Anmolpreet comes on to bowl the last over before lunch, and makes an impact straightaway. He induces an edge off the bat of Taide, but the ball falls just short of Rahane at slip.

Earlier, Jadeja, bowling his 16th over, decided to bowl an outside-the-leg-stump line to the right-handed Satish. Perhaps, that is how the next wicket may come to him, he may have thought.

11.29 am: Nervous moments for Taide in Chahar's 18th over. The leg-spinner gets a delivery to turn and jump enough to surprise the left-hander and take his outside edge; the ball travels beyond the reach of Rahane positioned at slip.

Later in the over, he nearly had Satish's wicket. The right-hander stepped down the track to play a belligerent stroke, but couldn't middle it, the bat turning in his hands. The fielders at cover and extra -cover converge for the catch but eventually, both tumble and the one nearest to the ball — Anmolpreet Singh — cannot hold on.

11.21 am: A breakthrough at last for Rest of India. Chahar kept at his probing middle-stump line that thudded into the pads of Sanjay, who had come forward to defend the delivery. This time, the ball was adjacent enough at the point of contact to compel the umpire to give it out. Sanjay departs for a patient, serene 42 (131b, 4X4, 1X6).

Ganesh Satish, the new batsman, opens his account by glancing a delivery from Chahar to the leg-side for three runs. It's 119 for 2.

11.13 am: The batsmen are solid off the back-foot and the front-foot. Much like Rest of India's batsmen on Day Four, the Vidarbha duo are using their footwork well to deal with the spinners. After the spells by two fast bowlers — Rajpoot and Tanveer — spinners Chahar and Jadeja are bowling from two ends on a pitch that assists turn.

Off the last ball of the over from Chahar — his 16th — there is some excitement from him as the delivery defended by Sanjay was adjacent to the stumps at the point of contact with the bat. If not for the bat, it may have been a good shout.

11.01 am: Taide turns a full delivery into a full toss and plays it to mid-on for a quick single. It provided him the 50th run of his innings. He gives a thumbs-up gesture in acknowledgement. The final delivery of the over — bowled by Chahar — is a good one; it drifts into the right-handed Sanjay and jumps and turns away from him.

Five runs are collected from the next over, bowled by Jadeja. Taide hits a four via a sweep shot. Vidarbha 110 for 1.

10.55 am: Tanveer, bowling from over-the-wicket, pitches a delivery on the good length on off-stump. Taide gently pushes the delivery via a gentle drive; it is just a push, but it goes through the gap between cover and mid-off and runs away to the boundary. Tanveer has, it seems, once again begun bowling on a good length — he does so in the rest of the over and the batsman deals with the deliveries confidently.

10.50 am: Jadeja's second over is a less expensive one, with three runs coming from it. Off one of the deliveries, pitching on off-stump and turning to leg, Taide plays a delicate glance to fine leg for a couple. The partnership — and the team total — is 99 now.

10.42 am: Left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja comes on to bowl. As with all bowlers today, there are two slips in place for him. Off the fourth ball of the over, Sanjay comes down the pitch to loft the ball straight behind the bowler's head for six. It's a serene stroke; it's an aggressive stroke but there is little power involved. It has just the momentum of the follow through, like a golfer. Vidarbha 96 for 1 after 36 overs.

10.38 am: Sanjay bends his right knee and caresses the ball through extra-cover for a boundary. It was copybook style, an aesthetic delight. Tanveer was the bowler; it was an overpitched delivery, outside off-stump. Tanveer, in this over, the 35th of the innings, tried to bowl fuller than he did previously.

10.31 am: Taide, out of the blue, comes down the track to hit a six off Chahar to cow corner. It is the first sign off aggression or belligerence in the day. Chahar and Tanveer have settled into a length — good length — and the batsmen find no trouble to play defensive strokes to their deliveries. It's drinks. Vidarbha needs 196 more to win.

10.16 am: Some excitement shown by Vidarbha's fielders as Chahar induces an inside edge off the bat of Taide, the left-hand batsman, but the ball travels to a vacant area near him. A backward short-leg fielder may have been in the right position to take the catch. Later in the over, Sanjay tries to deftly sweep a delivery; the ball touches his gloves. Chahar has a shout for lbw; the umpire refuses to entertain it, and isn't amused by Chahar's mild petulance at the decision.

10.13 am: Two runs coming from left-arm seamer Tanveer-ul-Haq's first over of the day.

10.07 am: Chahar also switches — to around-the-wicket. He bowls a negative line — deliveries pitching outside the leg-stump and turning in — to Sanjay, who nudges a delivery to short fine leg for a single. Taide, then, gets a loose delivery; it's a short delivery and the batsman makes room to cut and collects a boundary through cover.

Taide, then, nearly gifts his wicket; off a full delivery, he nearly chips it back to the bowler. Chahar dives to his right to accept the offering, but it travels too quickly for him. Rest of India's first definite chance of the day.

10.03 am: Rajpoot switches to over-the-wicket now. The deliveries are negotiated without much ado by the batsmen; one run coming from it.

9.57 am: Another lbw shout from Chahar, but as before, the ball seemed to be heading down the leg side, missing the stumps. It was an arm ball that Sanjay tries to defend off the back-foot, but he misses it. Later in the over, Sanjay goes on to the back-foot to turn the bowler's delivery to leg delightfully, picking up three runs. The partnership is 60 now. It's 60 for 1. Vidarbha needs 220 more to win.

9.54 am: Rajpoot bowls another over in which he makes Taide play at deliveries, bowling from around the wicket. There is little discomfort for the batsman, and one of the deliveries is a slower one that goes down the leg side.

9.47 am: Taide has two fours in Rajpoot's fourth over of the day. One of them is via a streaky stroke. First, Taide, helps a wayward delivery down the leg side, and later in the over, edges one, and the ball travels between the first and the second slip. Rajpoot anguishes by sitting on his haunches and grimacing.

He was bowling from around-the-wicket, forcing the left-hander to play at the deliveries.

9.38 am: R. Sanjay is being tested by Ankit Rajpoot. From an around-the-wicket angle, the fast bowler gets a delivery to pitch on middle-stump and go away from the batsman; Sanjay decides to leave the delivery alone, and it misses the off-stump by a small margin. Then, he gets a delivery to pitch outside leg-stump and hit the pads of the batsman. There is a restrained leg-before-wicket shout, but the umpire is unmoved.

9.25 am: A shout for leg-before-wicket by leg-spinner Rahul Chahar. His full delivery to Sanjay, pitching on leg-stump, perhaps hasn't turned enough to interest the umpire. It may have been going down the leg side. The batsman had offered a forward prod and the ball hit his front pad.

9.21 am: One run from the first over bowled by Ankit Rajpoot. It was a leg bye; the ball climbed up on R. Sanjay, and he awkwardly fends it off from his ribs on to the leg side. The bowler then bowls three accurate deliveries in an off-stump line, and a wayward one to the batsman's legs, but the batsman — Taide — isn't able to put it away, finding the fielder at short midwicket.

9.14 am: Vidarbha head coach Chandrakant Pandit says his team will "definitely try to chase this total." He points out that batsmen can get runs by applying themselves to the task, as Hanuma Vihari and Ajinkya Rahane showed on Friday.

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Nine wickets in hand, 243 runs to get. After four days, it is still anybody's game in this intriguing contest. Vidarbha may fancy its chances of pulling off the chase, but there will be much responsibility on the shoulders of the top order. The lower order bailed the side out after a top-order failure in the first innings, but the pressure of a chase might prove just too much for the tail this time.

Rest of India, on the other hand, will hope to get wickets early on, on Day Five — wickets eluded Vidarbha in the first session on Thursday, and its grasp on the opposition slipped away due to that. Will the narrative change this time, on a turning fifth-day track?

Welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the Irani Cup contest. Here's the scenario:

Vidarbha 425 and 37 for 1 needs 243 more runs to beat Rest of India 330 and 374 for 3 (Hanuma Vihari 180 n.o., Ajinkya Rahane 87, Shreyas Iyer 61 n.o.). (Report)