Ranji Trophy Final: Vidarbha wins maiden title

Tune in for our live coverage of the Ranji Trophy final between Delhi and Vidarbha from Indore's Holkar Stadium.

Akshay Wadkar, the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman from Vidarbha hammered an unbeaten century on Sunday to help his side gain the upper hand.   -  R.V. MOORTHY

Good Morning!

Welcome to Sportstar's LIVE coverage of the fourth day of the Ranji Trophy final between Delhi and Vidarbha in Indore's Holkar Stadium.

Sportstar wishes all its readers a very happy and a prosperous 2018!

Incase you missed how Akshay Wadkar stole the limelight on the last day of 2017, click here to read it.

What does Navdeep Saini think about the final? This is what the pacer had to say.

And, this is what Akshay Wadkar said after his knock on Sunday.



5.00 pm: Vidarbha wins the Ranji Trophy. It is just fitting that Wasim Jaffer, the most experienced player, scored the winning runs. Vidarbha wins the Ranji Trophy for the first time, beating Delhi by nine wickets. The Vidarbha players run out and break into wild celebrations in the middle. The Delhi team is understandably distraught. Chandrakant Pandit can finally smile now.

4.59 pm: Jaffer pulls another one and scores level.

4.58 pm: Jaffer hits a couple of boundaries off Khejroliya and Vidarbha needs 5 more to win.

4.48 pm: Jaffer and Sanjay stabilise a bit as Vidarbha moves to 7/1, needing 22 more runs to win.

Wasim Jaffer is the new man in.

4.41 pm: Vidarbha loses its skipper in the first over. Kulwant Khejroliya sends back Faiz Fazal for 2, trapped infront. Vidarbha 2/1, 27 more to win.

4.38 pm: Faiz Fazal and Sanjay Ramaswamy set out, chasing history. 29 runs for Vidarbha to win the Ranji Trophy.

After Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana departed in quick succession, it was just a matter of time for Vidarbha to run through the middle and tail. Vikas Mishra played a little cameo in the end and took Delhi into a slender lead but in the end, 28 runs is never going to be enough.

For Vidarbha, Akshay Wakhare returns with figures of 28-2-95-4 and A. Sarwate with 9-1-30-3. Rajneesh Gurbani took two wickets for 92 runs while Siddhesh Neral took one wicket for 39 runs.

4.28 pm: Sudan tries to heave Sarwate over midwicket and Wankhade makes no mistake to pouch the catch in the deep, at long on. Delhi is dismissed for 280 and Vidarbha needs 29 runs to lift its maiden Ranji Trophy.

Kulwant Khejroliya is the last man in.

4.26 pm: Mishra advances to Sarwate and misses it for Wadkar to do the rest behind the stumps. The blitz comes to an end and Delhi is 279/9. Mishra made 34 off 32 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes. Delhi leads by 27. Mishra and Sudan added 45 runs in 34 balls.

4.21 pm: Vikas Mishra and Akash Sudan have added 42 off 28 balls for Delhi, a lead of 24. The partnership coming a tad late for Delhi.

4.18 pm: Vikas Mishra slams two more sixes. Both in the long on area as Delhi milks 21 runs off the Wakhare over. Delhi 271/8, leading Vidarbha by 19 runs. This is the most expensive over of the match.

4.16 pm: Akash Sudan (13 off 13 balls) sends Wakhare into the stands for a maximum. Vidarbha must bat again to win the Ranji Trophy as Delhi moves to 256/8, a lead of 4 runs.

4.15 pm: Delhi gets to 250, trailing Vidarbha by 2 runs. Mishra and Akash Sudan in the middle.

4.10 pm: A flurry of strokes from Vikas Mishra just manages to reduce the deficit. Delhi 245/8, trails Delhi by just 7 runs now.

3.59 pm: Vidarbha moves to touching distance of being crowned the champions. Wakhare sends Saini on his way, caught by Sarwate for 5, and Delhi is 234/8, 18 runs behind Vidarbha. Vidarbha smells an innings victory in the final. Wakhare gets his fourth wicket (25.4-2-67-4) and Vidarbha on top.

Navdeep Saini is the next batsman in.

3.50 pm: Manan Sharma comes down the track and misses the off-spinner and Wakhare hits the off stump. Delhi slumps to 228/7 and in all likelihood, Vidarbha can lay its hands on the Ranji Trophy later this evening. Three wickets for Wakhare. He has figures of 25-2-63-3 now.

3.44 pm: Mishra edges and Wankhade drops it at third slip. The ball just reaches him in a flash, at a waist-level height, and he fumbles it. Mishra survives. Delhi 228/6.

It is now just a matter of time for Vidarbha. Vikas Mishra joins Manan Sharma.

3.36 pm: Neral strikes. Pant tries the same shot, gets an edge again but this time Wankhade doesn't make a mistake in the third man region and Rishabh Pant is back in the hut for 32, off 36 balls (3 fours and 1 six). Delhi loses its 6th wicket for 222 on the board, 30 behind Vidarbha.

3.35 pm: Pant is living dangerously here. He tries to heave Neral out of the park, gets a thick edge and the ball runs to the third man fence. Delhi 222/5.

Siddhesh Neral into the attack again.

3.30 pm: Pant comes down the track to Wakhare and misses connecting the ball. There is daylight between ball and bat and fortunately for the southpaw, the wicketkeeper misses the ball and misses a stumping. Pant survives. Delhi 218/5, 34 behind Vidarbha. Pant on 28 (33 balls) and Manan on 8 (19 balls) in the middle.

3.13 pm: Pant is going on. Sweeps Wakhare to the fine leg fence. Delhi crosses the 200-run mark. 201/5 now, trailing by 51 runs.

3.09 pm: Pant meanwhile isn't perturbed. He latches on to a Gurbani delivery, outside off stump, and pulls it to the midwicket fence. Delhi moves to 194/5 and Pant moves to 16, at run-a-ball.

Manan Sharma is the next man in. He, along with Pant, must ensure Delhi sees off this session without any more hiccups, if it needs to stage a comeback in this Ranji Trophy Final.

For Vidarbha, Gurbani has figures of 2/63 and Wakhare has figures of 2/51 with Sarvate picking up one wicket for 28 runs.

3.03 pm: Wakhare strikes. Himmat misses the off-spin completely and the ball crashes on to the off stump. Vidarbha on top right after tea. Delhi 190/5, 62 behind. Himmat doesn't trouble the scorers at all.

3.00 pm: Himmat Singh walks out with Rishabh Pant and we are all set for the third and final session of the fourth day's play in the Ranji Trophy final.

2.40 pm: At the stroke of tea, Gurbani strikes. The big wicket of Nitish Rana. Rana tries to drive the ball, pitched outside off stump, and edges it to Wadkar behind the stumps. What a time to lose a wicket for Delhi. It walks into the break at 189/4, 63 behind Vidarbha's total. The skipper Rishabh Pant is unbeaten on 11 and he will mostly be joined by Himmat Singh after the break. Rana has played 113 balls and has hit 12 fours. Vidarbha must be the happier team going into the break. It has managed to send Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana back into the hut in about 20 minutes.

2.32 pm: Rana is continuing his good work here. He has clobbered Gurbani to the fence and flicks the next one to get back-to-back boundaries. Delhi's intent is clear, looking to accelerate, which is the need of the hour. Delhi 185/3 in 55 overs, 67 behind Vidarbha now.

2.28 pm: Pant comes down the track and hits Rajneesh Gurbani for six. What a shot! He takes a couple of steps forward, the bowler bowling around the wicket, and times a good length ball way over the long on fence. It has gone miles. The ball has to be replaced as it lands way outside the stadium.

2.23 pm: Rana is living dangerously here. Wakhare induces Rana into the push and the short leg fielder fumbles a sharp catch. With Wakhare bowling over the wicket to the left-hander, the angle is proving to be a tad tougher for Rana to pick. But a couple of balls later, Rana reads the angle fast and sweeps it to the boundary. Delhi moves to 170/3, 82 runs behind Vidarbha.

The Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant walks in.

2.18 pm: Sarwate strikes. Shorey departs for 62. The left-arm spinner comes around the wicket and Shorey tries to cut it but ends up edging it to the wicketkeeper A. Wadkar. The 114-run partnership for the third wicket is broken. The change of angle from Sarwate has worked for Vidarbha. Delhi 164/3, trailing Vidarbha by 88 runs. Shorey played 142 balls and hit 10 fours.

2.13 pm: Nitish Rana has brought up his half-century (100 balls, 9 fours), his sixth in Ranji Trophy. Delhi 163/2, trails by 89 runs.

2.07 pm: This fourth-day pitch is still very good to bat on, meaning the bowlers have to be patient and as batsmen, runs are there for the taking.

1.58 pm: A couple of tight, probing overs from Thakare and Wakhare. Nitish Rana is watchful, but the centurion from the first innings (Dhruv Shorey) lucky to be still at the crease.

1.50 pm: Dropped! Wasim Jaffer at first slip drops Shorey (60*). Aditya Thakare had enticed the batsman to go for an expansive cut, inducing the outside edge.

1.40 pm: Nitish Rana and Dhruv Shorey bring up the 100-run partnership for the third wicket. Shorey stepped down and slammed it through covers to the boundary. Delhi 155/2, partnership of 105 from 163 balls.

1.26 pm: Shorey gets to his 50. He just pushes Thakare to mid-wicket and steals a single. He is in fine form. He has played 106 balls with 9 fours. Delhi 145/2 in 41 overs, trailing Vidarbha by 107 runs. x

1.24 pm: Shorey looks in fine touch. Thakare pitches it slightly up and Shorey launches a gorgeous straight drive to the fence. Got to the ball on the rise and drove it neat.

Faiz Fazal brings back Aditya Thakare into the attack. The intent is clear, bring your strike bowler on for a wicket.

1.19 pm: Rana and Shorey score 17 runs off a Neral over. It has been a flurry of strokes to the fence. Delhi 140/2, trail by 112 runs.

1.16 pm: Neral finds the edge but it is just high off the first slip and Rana survives.

1.13 pm: The Delhi batsmen - Rana and Shorey - are slowly building a partnership. Noy exactly at the pace that Delhi would like, but the duo have been tad solid. Delhi 123/2, trailing Vidarbha by 129 runs. Shorey is on 33 (97 balls) and Rana on 38 (58 balls).

12.51 pm: Rana steps and drives one to the boundary. With the shot, Dhruv Shorey and Rana have brought up the 50-run partnership for the third wicket. Their association worth 53 runs from 90 balls now. Delhi 103/2, trailing Vidarbha by 149 runs.

12.46 pm: Shorey edges Neral but Wasim Jaffer, at a little wide-ish first slip, could only get his fingers on it and the ball races to the boundary. Jaffer dived to his right, but it wasn't enough.

12.42 pm: With the field spread out a little, Shorey and Rana have been getting some singles quite easily. It moves to 89/2, trailing Vidarbha by 163 runs.

12.30 pm: Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana aren't taking any risks. They are just seeing off Rajneesh Gurbani and Akshay Wakhare easily. They haven't played any big or risky shots. Delhi needs to up the ante if it needs to make a match out of this contest. At the end of 27 overs, Delhi 83/2, trailing Vidarbha by a mammoth 169 runs.

12.20 pm: A slow and steady start after lunch. Delhi crawls to 77/2 in 24 overs.

12.10 pm: The second session is all set to get underway here. Gurbani starts the proceedings.

11.30 am: Lunch time at Holkar Stadium. Delhi goes into the break in a rather tricky situation as it lost two quick wickets in its second innings - Gautam Gambhir being the biggest of names. After conceding first innings lead of 252 runs to Vidarbha, Delhi required good start but with both it's openers falling early, the side was at 74/2 at lunch on the fourth day - still trailing by 178 runs. Despite a good start, Gambhir was trapped leg before off Rajneesh Gurbani for 36. However, Gambhir would be disappointed with the decision as the television replays clearly showed that ball was missing the leg stump.

11.23 pm: At the end of 20 overs, Delhi is on 62, trailing Vidarbha by 190 runs. But more importantly, it has lost two wickets, that includes the veteran Gambhir too. Delhi needs to work this out extremely tactically if it needs to make a match out of this.

Nitish Rana joins Dhruv Shorey.

11.11 am: GAMBHIR GONE! Big wicket for Vidarbha as Gurbani gets Gambhir lbw for 36 (37 balls, 7 fours). Delhi 50/2, trailing Vidarbha by 202 runs. Replays showing the ball might have missed the leg stump. That's a harsh decision, we feel.

11.06 am:
End of 16 overs, Delhi has moved to 46/1 with Gambhir on 32 and Shorey on 4. It trails Vidarbha by 206 runs.

10.50 am: Delhi is off to a steady start. It moves to 39/1 in the 13th over with Gautam Gambhir on 25 (21 balls, 5 fours) and Dhruv Shorey on 4 (19 balls, 1 four). It trails Vidarbha by 213 runs.

First innings centurion, Dhru Shorey joins Gautam Gambhir in the middle.

10.34 am: Delhi loses its first wicket. Kunal Chandela departs for 9 (37 balls), caught by Rajneesh Gurbani off Akshay Wakhare. The spinner tosses it up and Chandela gets it high in the air only to find Gurbani under it, who made no mistake by making good ground. That was a rash shot from Chandela. Delhi loses its first wicket for 32 on the board. It trails Vidarbha by 220 runs.

10.26 am : Gambhir scores back-to-back boundaries and moves on to 21 off 15. Delhi now at 31 for no loss.

10.19 am: End of 5 overs, Delhi 21/0, trailing by 231 runs.

10.17 am: Faiz Fazal introduces Akshay Wakhare, the off-spinner, into the attack and he gets some turn straight away.

10.11 am: End of three overs, Delhi has got off to a good start, 19/0, trailing Vidarbha by 233 runs.

Aditya Thakare sharing the new ball with Gurbani.

9.59 am: Gurbani, around the wicket, bowls slightly on the leg side and Gambhir has no qualms in guiding it to the boundary. Gambhir opens his account with a boundary. Gurbani follows it up with a half-volley and drives it past the bowler for four. A good start for Delhi and Gambhir. End of the first over, Delhi 9/0.

9.55 am: Ranjeesh Gurbani starts the proceedings with the ball for Vidarbha. Kunal Chandela and Gautam Gambhir walk out padded up. Delhi starts with a deficit of 252.

Delhi has an uphill task in hand. It is now upto the senior pros to step to the plate when it just matters. Let's see how Delhi responds.

9.46 am: Navdeep Saini picks up his fifth wicket as Aditya Thakare departs for no score and Vidarbha folds finally for 547. Thakare edges one to third slip and the fielder fumbles and parries it to first slip where Dhruv Shorey makes no mistake, much to the relief of the Delhi boys. Vidarbha has a lead of 252 and Delhi has a huge mountain to climb, should it needs to stage a comeback in this match. Saini returns with figures of 36.3-5-135-5. Akash Sudan (27-3-102-2), Kulwant Khejroliya (39-8-132-2) and Nitish Rana (13.1-132-1) were the other wicket takers.

Resuming the day at 528/7, Vidarbha lost its last three wickets for 19 runs. Centurion Akshay Wadkar, who stayed at the crease for 425 minutes, was dismissed by Kulwant Khejroliya for 133.

Aditya Thakare joins Rajneesh Gurbani in the middle. The third new ball has been taken.

9.36 am: Khejroliya finally gets a wicket. Akshay Wadkar goes for a wild heave and sends it high towards the cover region where Nitish Rana takes a catch on the third attempt. Wadkar's brilliant innings ends on 133. A standing ovation as he walks back. He has played 263 balls with 16 fours and 1 six and more importantly he has taken Vidarbha in touching distance of a maiden Ranji Trophy title. Vidarbha lose its ninth wicket for 547, a lead of 252 runs.

Third new ball is due now.

Rajneesh Gurbani walks out. How much damage can he inflict on Delhi along with Wadkar?

9.30 am: Finally a wicket for Delhi. Neral edges Navdeep Saini and it is an easy catch for a diving Rishabh Pant. Saini gets his fourth and Pant takes his fifth catch of the innings. Neral's luck runs out on 74 off 107 balls. Vidarbha 547/8, leading Delhi by 252 runs. Navdeep Saini has figures of 35.1-4-135-4.

Vidarbha stretches the lead beyond 250. It has a firm grip on the Ranji Trophy now.

9.10 am: The Khejroliya and Neral swansong continues! Another dismissal, another life. Khejroliya uproots the middle stump but Neral survives. No prizes for guessing why! The foot is way beyond the line. Neral survives again. Three times lucky.

9.00 am: Vidarbha resumes the fourth day on 528/7 in 156 overs, a lead of 233 runs. Akshay Wadkar and Siddhesh Neral will start on 133 and 56 respectively. The duo have added 113 so far for the eighth wicket.

The players are walking out and so are the umpires. Delhi would hope to have a better day in the field rather than chasing the red cherry all over.

We are all set for cricketing action in 2018.