Nagpur, February 7
Left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate starred with the ball to help defending champions Vidarbha retain the Ranji Trophy title by beating Saurashtra by 78 runs in the summit clash here today. Chasing a target of 206 runs, Saurashtra folded up for 127, with Sarwate bagging six wickets in 24 overs. The left-arm spinner emerged the hero of the 85th Ranji title clash after he scalped 11 wickets and scored 49 vital runs; besides, he negated the threat of India Test star Cheteshwar Pujara by dismissing him cheaply in both innings. Off-spinner Akshay Wakhare provided him excellent support, claiming seven wickets in the match.
Sarwate strikes early
Needing five wickets on the final day to clinch the title second time in a row, Vidarbha started the day on a positive note. As early as in the second over of the day, Sarwate dismissed Kamlesh Makvana (14), who had forged a partnership of 33 runs for the sixth wicket with Vishvaraj Jadeja. Wakhare then dismissed Prerak Mankad (2) in the very next over to mount more pressure on Saurashtra.
Needing 115 runs more with just three wickets remaining, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (17 runs) supported Vishvaraj Jadeja (52 runs) nicely but Sarwate returned to trap Vishvraj leg-before and crush the visitors’ hopes. Thereafter, it was just a matter of time before the Saurashtra innings folded up and Vidarbha became champions for the second time in a row. Interestingly, this was Saurashtra’s third loss in the final in as many appearances.