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Rajneesh Gurbani’s hat-trick rattles Delhi

Faiz Fazal, Wasim Jaffer score half-centuries to shape Vidarbha’s reply

With Wasim Jaffer unbeaten on 61, Vidarbha were 206 for four at stumps on Day 2 after bowling out Delhi for 295 earlier in the morning.

In the morning session, Rajneesh Gurbani (6/59) stole the show with a hat-trick to rattle Delhi ending the overnight stand between Dhruv Shorey and Vikas Mishra almost an hour into the day. He became only the second bowler after B Kalyansundaram (in 1972-73) to do so in a Ranji Trophy final.

Mishra had displayed grit to partner Shorey in extending the Delhi innings even as the Vidarbha bowlers hit the deck hard to create a breakthrough. The pair had stayed their ground as they took their side to 290 when Gurbani struck. 19 runs were added to the overnight total when the Vidarbha pacer sent Mishra’s off-stump cart-wheeling back. Off his next ball the bowler uprooted Navdeep Saini’s middle-stump with the one that came in to the batsman. And on his hat-trick delivery, he ended Delhi’s resistance by uprooting Shorey’s off-stump.

“It is a fast bowler’s dream to take a hat-trick and take a five-wicket haul in the final, so it is a special feeling,” Gurbani said later. “I wasn’t thinking that I have to take a hat-trick and all that, but the situations happened, and it worked,” he added.

Speaking about his spell, Gurbani said, “My intent was always to take wickets and then by God’s grace I got wickets off all three balls. I got the first two wickets off the fifth and sixth ball, so when I came to bowl the next over it wasn’t on mind (that I am on a hat-trick). However, when I was on the run-up, someone in the crowd shouted ‘hat-trick ball’ and that’s when I realised it to be frank.”
Shorey, who had been the mainstay of the Delhi line-up returned to the pavilion for 145 off 293 deliveries leaving the team on 295 for nine. And couple of balls later, Gurbani disrupted Kulwant Khejroliya’s woodwork to deny Delhi the 300-run mark.

Speaking about his bowling, Gurbani who had been off the field in the later part of Day 1 said, “Yesterday, since I wasn’t feeling well I couldn’t bowl later. I wasn’t on the field either so today I wanted to be on the field and be able to bowl the first over. And I know if I bowl well, then the team will win. Since yesterday I was thinking that, tomorrow (Day 2) I have to bowl from the first over and give my best and prepared for that through the night keeping that in mind.”

To shape Vidarbha’s reply, captain, Faiz Fazal came out to the middle with SR Ramaswamy. The pair took the team to Lunch at 45 without loss. Resuming in the second session, the Vidarbha openers were in sync as they continued to build the innings. The skipper was on song as he brought up his half-century effortlessly while laying a solid platform for the team. The opening stand was worth 96 when Akash Sudan dislodged Ramaswamy’s bails. 11 runs later, Fazal departed nicking the pacer and Rishabh Pant took a good catch to leave Vidarbha on 107 for two.

Jaffer then saw the team to Tea at 129 for two with Ganesh Satish. In the second over of the final session though, Saini got the better of Satish to leave Vidarbha on 133 for three.

Apoorva Wankhede who then joined the top-order batsman in the middle helped add 73 to the total before edgeing Kulwant Khejroliya to the ‘keeper at the fag end of the day.

Jaffer then saw the team through the remainder of the session with A Wakhare. Vidarbha were trailing by 89 runs when play ended for the day.

Scorecard - http://www.bcci.tv/ranji-trophy-2017-18/match/91

Prajakta Pawar
Prajakta Pawar

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Centurion Shorey leads Delhi’s fightback

Debutant Thakare removes Delhi’s top-order

With an unbeaten 123, Dhruv Shorey helped Delhi to a respectable 271 for six until Stumps on Day 1 of the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 final after debutant Aditya Thakare and Co had reduced them to 99 for four earlier in the day.

The top-order batsman anchored his team’s revival even as the Vidarbha bowlers pegged away relentlessly through the day after making optimal use of the morning conditions in Indore.

It was a day of firsts for Vidarbha – first appearance in a Ranji Trophy final, in which they opted to hand Aditya Thakare his Vidarbha cap and then handed him the ball to bowl the first over of the game. 

After calling correctly they left Delhi precariously poised on 89 for three at Lunch. After starting off with a no ball, Thakare beat Kunal Chandela off the next delivery and kept him on his toes before drawing an edge later in the over while Fazal at first slip took a sharp catch to leave Delhi on 1/1. The Vidarbha pacers kept the opposition on their toes as they bowled a disciplined line to keep a lid on the flow of runs.

Introduced into the attack in the 13th over, Akshay Wakhare responded by knocking back Gautam Gambhir’s off-stump; giving Vidarbha a vital breakthrough. Nitish Rana then joined Dhruv Shorey in an effort to keep the bowlers at bay. However, towards the end of the session, the middle-order bat was trapped lbw by the debutant. With his team faltering on 65 for three, Rishabh Pant came to the crease and took Delhi to Lunch at 89 for three.

However, early in the second session the fourth wicket partnership was ended for 34 runs. Rajneesh Gurbani’s efforts bore fruit as Pant departed edging the pacer to the wicketkeeper leaving Delhi on 99 for four.

Himmat Singh then joined Shorey who had dug in his heels at the other end in building the Delhi innings. Himmat complemented Shorey’s patience as they pair chipped away at the Vidarbha attack to revive the innings.

While Vidarbha had dominated the first session, the Himmat-Shorey pair helped Delhi put up a fight in the second. Stemming the fall of wickets they took Delhi to Tea at 180 for four.

However, in the third over of the last session after having taken Delhi past the 200-run mark, Himmat returned to the pavilion. Gurbani struck to end the flourishing partnership for 105. After three boundaries earlier in the over, the last delivery off the over came into the batsman and took the inside edge off the bat as it passed between bat and pad and straight to the ‘keeper leaving Delhi on 204 for five.

Siddhesh Neral provided Vidarbha with their next breakthrough 38 runs later. While Shorey continued to determinedly hold up one end, the pacer got the better of Manan Sharma. Brought back into the attack, he had the batsman edge to the slips and Fazal took a good catch at first slip to leave Delhi on 242 for six.

However, an undeterred Shorey ploughed on. He continued to carry the innings forward with Vikas Mishra and saw the team through to the end of day’s play.

The Fazal-led side had got off to a good start, but later they conceded the early advantage to Delhi as Shorey plodded on to keep the match hanging in the balance.

Scorecard - http://www.bcci.tv/ranji-trophy-2017-18/match/91

Prajakta Pawar

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