Vidarbha beat Delhi by nine wickets to clinch its maiden Ranji Trophy title at the Holkar stadium in Indore. <br> As the 2017/18 Ranji season draws to a close, we look back at the performers who shone with bat and ball for their respective teams. Needless to say, it's a list teeming with willow wielders and cherry pickers.
A tally of 1160 runs at a staggering average of 105.45 make Mayank a standout performer with the bat. The Karnataka batsman's achievement is further buoyed by the fact that while his 2017-18 season actually began with a pair of ducks against Hyderabad, he ended shy of a mere 255 runs of former India batsman V.V.S Laxman's record 1,415 runs in the 1999/2000 season. <br> The right-hand batter ended the season with five centuries and two fifties under his belt, at a strike-rate of 68.80.
Captain and opener Faiz Fazal has been largely responsible for the upswing in Vidarbha's cricketing fortunes this season. The second highest run-getter after Karnataka's Mayank Agarwal, Fazal racked up 910 runs at an average of 75.83. <br> The 32-year-old even scored a double-century (206) against Himachal Pradesh and has been the bedrock of Vidarbha's batting effort along with fellow opener Sanjay Ramaswamy and Wasim Jaffer. Fazal's Ranji campaign has been studded with five centuries and one fifty.
When Vidarbha pacer Gurbani cleaned up Delhi batsman Dhruv Shorey on day two of the Ranji Trophy final in Indore, he became only the second bowler after Tamil Nadu's B. Kalyanasundaram, to claim a hat-trick in the Ranji final. <br> Gurbani has troubled opposition batters with swing and skiddy pace, working his way to No. 2 in the bowling chart, having scalped 39 wickets at 16.58. Against Karnataka in the semifinal, Gurbani starred with the ball, snapping up 12 wickets to propel Vidarbha into its maiden final. <br> The engineer-turned cricketer has been a force to reckon with for coach Chandrakant Pandit's side this season.
The 25-year- old medium pacer has been pivotal to Delhi's fine show this season. Against Bengal in the semifinal, Saini returned a career-best match haul of 7 for 79 to help Delhi to its first Ranji final in 10 years. <br> Saini, who took a five-for in the first innings of the final against Vidarbha, bagged 34 wickets at 22.73.
A tally of 652 runs at an average of 59.27 makes him Mumbai's top run-scorer this season. However, it's his resolve with the willow in the middle order, that makes him one of the better performers. <br> Against Baroda, in what was Mumbai's 500th Ranji Trophy match, the diminutive batsman spent a little over five hours at the crease, facing 238 deliveries to salvage a draw for the 41-time champion. Lad’s unbeaten 71 on the final day of the game, to go with his two centuries and three fifties, was the silver lining in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Mumbai.
An innings-and-eight-run win against Haryana meant Kerala finished second in Group B with 31 points from six matches, three points adrift of table topper Gujarat. <br> And Kerala's success could be put down, partly, to the form of right-arm off-spinner Jalaj Saxena. Jalaj, who picked up 44 wickets at 17.11, is the top wicket-getter this season. The 30-year-old, a veteran of 99 first-class matches, has 262 wickets at 28.85.
Off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham's 7 for 72 against Railways was instrumental in Karnataka booking a quarterfinal clash with Mumbai. The 29-year-old recorded his career-best match figures of 10 for 142 as he ran through the opposition middle-order — dismissing all seven batsmen either bowled or lbw. <br> However, Gowtham, who finished with 34 wickets at 22.23, bowled only six overs with no wickets in the semifinal against Vidarbha.
Another off-spinner who impressed with the ball, Wakhare finished the 2017-18 season with 34 wickets at 20.94. Wakhare's five-for and an overall match tally of 9 for 104 helped Vidarbha beat Goa with a bonus point — the resulting innings and 37-run win securing Vidarbha's knockout berth.
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