A vital spell from skipper Jaydev Unadkat on the morning of the final day of play between Saurashtra and Bengal in Rajkot helped the hosts clinch their maiden Ranji Trophy title. For his match-winning hundred in the first innings, Arpit Vasavada has adjudged the Man of the Match.
There is nothing quite like success, is there? And when that moment of ecstasy comes after three times of failing at the same stage, as it was with Saurashtra, it tastes sweeter. In the end, the final day of the Ranji season couldn’t have been scripted any better for Unadkat and Co.
Coming into the day, the match was evenly poised. The seemingly-invincible Anustup Majumdar and his reliable lower-order partner Arnab Nandi threatened to steal their crown on their home turf. But their skipper, who had toiled away for 30 overs without a wicket, emerged the hero with two wickets — the first and the last one of the day — and a cheeky run-out.
Majumdar missed a straight one and was caught plumb in front, while Akash Deep’s carelessness cost him his wicket soon after. And though Nandi battled on, it was only a matter of time before the hosts wrapped up the tail. The moment Unadkat had Ishan Porel trapped in front, he knew — in fact, all of Saurashtra and Bengal knew — that it was all over. The visiting team’s head coach Arun Lal walked over to his opposite number, Karsan Ghavri, and shook hands.
Nevertheless, as protocol dictated, Saurashtra came out to bat. And although they lost four wickets, the mutual agreement came in at the stroke of tea. For the first time in 73 years and three final appearances, Saurashtra had their names etched onto India’s premier domestic trophy.
Brief scores: Saurashtra 425 all-out in 171.5 overs (Arpit Vasavada 106; Akash Deep 4-98) & 105/4 in 34 overs (Avi Barot 39; Shahbaz Ahmed 2-32) drew against Bengal 381 all-out in 161 overs (Sudip Chatterjee 81; Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 3-114).