This final, against Saurashtra, loaded with emotions, had twists and turns.
Aditya Sarwate’s sharp reading of the surface and homework against the batters helped Vidarbha complete a dream run at the VCA ground. Cheteshwar Pujara and group fell short by 78 runs as the host clinched the title for the second time in a row. This time, at its own backyard.
All-rounder Sarwate finished with a match haul of 11 wickets [two fifers] to crush Saurashtra’s third chance.
Saurashtra’s only hope from the top order, Vishvaraj Jadeja 52 off 137 (4x6), put up a solo show but ran out of able partners in the crisis hour.
The 206-run chase had begun on day four itself but the visitor had lost three of its main batsmen to slow left-arm Sarwate.
Kamlesh Makvana 14 off 45 (4x1) and Jadeja held their nerves for a 33-run stand before Sarwate resumed his magic. He ran through the batsman’s gate like a boss. Makvana hadn’t even attempted a shot. The bat lift just allowed the ball to sneak in.
Next man in, Prerak Mankad 2 off 2 was unlucky to have been adjudged leg-before off Akshay Wakhare. The off-spinning delivery was rolling outside off.
Two quick wickets in consecutive overs heaped immense pressure on No. 3 Jadeja who started a ‘block’ policy to kill the spin. He limped to his third first-class fifty in a spent environment.
The drinks break shook his focus. Attempting a sweep off a fuller Sarwate delivery, he was trapped in front of the stumps.
Skipper Jaydev Unadkat 7 off 15 (4x1) had flashes of his first innings score of 46. The square cut off Sarwate that raced to the boundary had a lot of punch.
The moment he tried to apply the ‘sweep’ solution — which worked earlier — to dispose the spinners, Sarwate rose to the occasion deceiving the batsman. The ball hit the back thigh in front of the stumps.
Also read: Pandit's Vidarbha elated to prove a point
Dharmendrasinh Jadeja glued himself to the wicket for 56 balls. But after the ninth wicket, he started swinging the willow in full flow. An attempted slog sweep of Wakhare caught a top edge and it was main man Sarwate who took the last catch.
Sarwate returned with figures of 6/59 in the fourth innings. Wakhare stood out with 3/37. Umesh Yadav settled with one wicket, that of Arpit Vasavada, which he claimed on day four.
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