Anupam Sanklecha’s second consecutive seven-wicket haul guided Maharashtra to its first outright win of the season after the side defeated Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy match at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday.
Maharashtra restricted Vidarbha to 270 in its second innings to win by an innings and three runs on the penultimate day of the Group B encounter. It gathered seven valuable points, including a bonus, to strengthen its position on the table with 14 from five outings.
Resuming its second innings at 141 for one, Vidarbha could not sustain its resistance in the face of some precise seam bowling by Sanklecha and his colleagues. Sanklecha, who had provided a late evening breakthrough by ending a 141-run opening stand between Sanjay Ramaswamy and Vidarbha skipper Faiz Fazal, bowled fuller and extracted sharp movement from the pitch.
The 34-year-old jumped with joy in the fourth over of the day when Fazal, who added six runs to his overnight 53, jabbed hard on front foot and was caught by short leg fielder. A delivery later Salabha Shrivastava was bowled through the gate as Maharashtra sensed an early end to the contest.
Nikit Dhumal got some encouragement from the other end. In the following over, he found Ganesh Satish’s outside edge off a beauty of a delivery and wicketkeeper Vishant More, who often fumbled to concede 11 byes, took a safe catch.
Sanklecha bowled Jitesh Sharma with a delivery that kept low and and Dhumal hit Ravi Jangid’s pads in front to reduce Vidarbha to 165 for six.
Shrikant Wagh (69 not out, 73b, 10x4, 1x6) and Akshay Karnewar (23) forged 73 runs to delay the inevitable. Rahul Tripathi got rid of Karnewar, caught by a diving More, to raise Maharashtra’s hopes for a bonus point.
Wagh batted bravely with an aim to upset Maharashtra’s plans, but Sanklecha polished off the tail by breaching the defence of Lalit Yadav, Akshay Wakhare and Ravi Thakur as the match ended within the extended morning session.
Sanklecha’s successful spells, three for 14 off five overs and three for 19 off six, from both ends was the result of his planned attack and controlled approach.
Sanklecha, who secured match figures of 14 for 94 and crossed 150 wickets overall, relished his first 10-wicket haul. “The idea was to bowl up and make the batsmen play. I want to continue my good work,” said Sanklecha.