Ranji Trophy: Vidarbha closes in on big win

Pace spearhead Umesh Yadav accounts for three vital breakthroughs to leave Team Uttarakhand struggling to avoid an innings defeat.

Nagpur 18/01/2019:Vidarbha pacer Umesh Yadav in action against Uttrakhand in Ranaji Trophy qurter finel (fourth day at VCA stadium, Jamatha in Nagpur on Friday. Pic by S Sudarshan

Nagpur 18/01/2019:Vidarbha pacer Umesh Yadav in action against Uttrakhand in Ranaji Trophy qurter finel (fourth day at VCA stadium, Jamatha in Nagpur on Friday. Pic by S Sudarshan

Aditya Sarvate and Umesh Yadav lit up the penultimate day’s play of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal to put Vidarbha on track for what is likely to be an innings win against Team Uttarakhand at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium on Friday.

Sarvate, the all-rounder, converted his unbeaten half-century into a second first-class hundred in the morning to help Vidarbha amass its highest total in Ranji Trophy history. With a sizeable lead of 274 runs, Yadav, the pace spearhead, gave Vidarbha three vital breakthroughs with his raw pace before Sarvate, the left-arm spinner, struck with the ball at the end of the day.

Thanks to a wicket each by Yadav and Sarvate off what turned out to be the last two deliveries of the day, Uttarakhand was in a spot of bother at 152 for five, in need of 122 runs more to make Vidarbha bat again.

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Castled: Umesh Yadav has Vaibhav Bhatt out bowled. Photo: S. Sudarshan

 

First, Yadav beat Avneesh Sudha for pace, and had him dismissed bowler, and then Sarvate, off his own bowling, plucked a catch off a fiercely struck drive from Vaibhav Panwar. It was a nicely judged catch; Sarvate lunged to his left in his follow-through to complete it.

Disciplined openers

For much of the day, however, Uttarakhand fought hard. Openers Vineet Saxena and Karanveer Kaushal started the second dig on a promising note. In order to avoid an outright loss and end its maiden Ranji season with heads held high, Uttarakhand required to bat time after Vidarbha’s first innings eventually folded up for a gargantuan 629 in the morning session.

Read | Karnataka defeats Team Rajasthan, moves into semifinals

With half an hour remaining for lunch, Saxena and Kaushal, despite being in the field for a whopping 184 overs, concentrated hard and played out seven maidens by accurate Rajneesh Gurbani and Suniket Bingewar.

When Yadav was introduced in the 11th over, with the speedster bowling at full steam, the Uttarakhand duo stuttered but survived his initial four-over onslaught on a pitch that finally started showing signs of wear and tear. So disciplined were Saxena and Kaushal that they waited for the first run on the board for 44 balls and the first boundary for 98 balls. They then saw off the afternoon session to see their team through to 69 for no loss at tea.

Floodgates

But Yadav’s fiery spell of 6-2-17-2 opened the floodgates for Vidarbha. He first jagged one slightly back to trap Saxena lbw and then had Vaibhav Bhatt — who was injured by a Yadav delivery in the first innings and unable to don the wicketkeeping gloves — bowled, his off-stump cartwheeling.

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Among the runs: After a dry spell of two months, Aditya Sarvate returned to form with a century in the quarterfinal. Photo: S. Sudarshan

 

Kaushal, then, started opening his arms and went after Sarvate. But the bearded spinner had the last laugh; he pitched one in the rough outside leg-stump and the ball crashed into the off-stump when Kaushal shouldered arms. The visiting team was put further into disarray with twin blows by Yadav and Sarvate.

  • Team Uttarakhand 355 and 152 for 5 (Karanveer Kaushal 76, Umesh Yadav 3 for 22) trails Vidarbha 629 by 122 runs.
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