Even after playing the Ranji Trophy tournament for over 60 years since their debut in the 1957-58 season, Vidarbha was yet to register their maiden title victory. The finals of the 2017-18 season seemed like a perfect opportunity to fulfil the dream of over 6 decades but the task surely was not easy. Vidarbha was up and against seven-time title winner Delhi.
Winning the toss, Vidarbha invited Delhi to bat first at the finals in Indore. Delhi’s openers failed to give their team the right start and before putting 100 runs on the scoreboard, four batters were already back to the pavilion. Batter Dhruv Shorey, however, gave his team some support with a slow but responsible innings. Thanks to Shorey’s brilliant 145-run knock, Delhi put a total of 295 runs on the scoreboard.
In reply, Vidarbha got off to a steady start with captain Faiz Fazal scoring 67 off 101 balls and Wasim Jaffer helping his team with 78 run innings. Though the team suffered some setbacks in the middle order, Akshay Wadkar’s brilliant century and Aditya Sarwate’s crucial 79 run innings controlled the damage. Vidharbha finished the innings with 547 runs on the road
Pacer Navdeep Saini finished the innings as the most successful bowler for Delhi with 5 wickets in his tally. Delhi was trailing by 252 runs and Vidarbha looked in complete control. Delhi’s reply in the second innings received a major blow as opener Kunal Chandela was dismissed for just 32, followed by Gautam Gambhir’s departure at a personal score of just 36 runs.
The partnership between Shorey and Nitish Rana gave some hope to Delhi’s fans as the duo launched a counterattack on the Vidarbha bowling lineup. But the excitement was soon curtailed after Shorey was caught in the slips by Jaffer followed by Rana’s dismissal.
While Rishabh Pant and Vikas Mishra took their score in the 30s, it never looked enough to avoid a defeat for Delhi now. The team was bowled out at 280 runs and Vidarbha got a target of 29 runs to clinch the match and write a new chapter in Ranji trophy history.
The team chased down the target in 5 over at the loss of just 1 wicket and Vidarbha got their hands on the Ranji Trophy after a wait for 61 years.