Ranji Trophy: Aditya Sarwate bowls Vidarbha to title win

Vidarbha defended its Ranji Trophy title by beating Saurashtra by 78 runs in the final.

Vidarbha players after winning second straight Ranji Trophy title.   -  Vivek Bendre

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.

Ranji Trophy 2018-19 final: In pictures

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.

  • Vidarbha (2017-18 & 2018-19) became the sixth team to defend the Ranji title after Mumbai (multiple occasions), Maharashtra (1939-40 & 1940-41), Delhi (1978-79 & 1979-80), Karnataka (twice - 1997-98 & 1998-99; 2013-14 & 2014-15) and Rajasthan (2010-11 & 2011-12).
  • Wasim Jaffer became only the fifth cricketer to win 10 Ranji titles. He joined the elite club of Ashok Mankad (12 titles), Ajit Wadekar (11), Manohar Hardikar and Dilip Sardesai (10 each).
  • Faiz Fazal became the 11th captain to claim two successive Ranji titles.

 

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.

Read: Aditya Sarwate, Vidarbha's 'final' man

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.

“I think any loss would be disappointing, but I don’t think it’s more painful than the last two [finals]. The fact is we played such good type of cricket. I think the belief was still there. The kind of games we won, the last couple of games, I still had that belief personally, and there was a talk in the team as well, you know if we can get one good partnership going, but it had to be from the guys who were playing, or Prerak Mankad who was going come next. I still feel they put up a fight; we fought till the end, till the last wicket was lost.”  – Jaydev Unadkat, Saurashtra captain.

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.

“The support we had [at home] also leads to nervousness. Not only the 15 players, but the support staff and VCA administration helped. My thanks would not be enough. To top the table was important. There were positive vibes, we were very confident. These two years, the processes were followed. You need to stay strict to become united and see a single vision. Instead of just individuals, the team performed. The thought process was there and it was about winning the Ranji trophy.”  – Faiz Fazal, Vidarbha captain.

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.

Brief scores

Vidarbha 312 (Akshay Karnevar 73*, Akshay Wadkar 45, Jaydev Unadkart 3/54, Chetan Sakariya 2/44) & 200 (Aditya Sarwate 49, Mohit Kale 38, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 6/96, Kamlesh Makvana 2/51) bt Saurashtra 307 (Snell Patel 102, Jaydev Unadkat 46, Aditya Sarwate 5/98, Akshay Wakhare 4/80) & 127 (Vishvaraj Jadeja 52, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 17, Aditya Sarwate 6/59, Akshay Wakhare 3/37).