Indore: Wasim Jaffer brought into play his years of experience as he guided Vidarbha to 206 for four with an unbeaten half-century after seamer Rajneesh Gurbani scythed through Delhi’s lower-order for a rare hat-trick in a Ranji Trophy final here on Saturday.
At stumps on the second day, Jaffer was batting on 61 off 120 balls and Akshay Wakhare was yet to open his account, as Vidabha trailed by 89 runs.
The match hanging in a balance, how Delhi bowlers perform during the first hour of the third day, could well prove to be decisive in the final context of the match. Resuming on 271 for six, in-form seamer Gurbani rocked seven-time winners Delhi by removing three batsmen in as many balls in the second morning.
The victims at the Holkar Stadium also included centurion Dhruv Shorey, making Gurbani only the second man to claim a hat-trick in the final of India’s premier domestic competition. Tamil Nadu’s B Kalyanasundaram was the first, achieving the feat against Mumbai in 1972/73.
On 123 overnight, Shorey laced his innings with 21 boundaries before his team was all out for 295. Delhi lost their last four wickets for only five runs. A day after a rather subdued outing, Gurbani found his mojo back as the 24-year-old ripped through the shaky defence of Vikas Mishra, Navdeep Saini and Shorey off successive deliveries before knocking over Kulwant Khejroliya, to cut short Delhi’s innings.
What made the feat even more commendable was that Gurbani, bowling the hat-trick ball, was up against a batsman who was nearing 150. Having found the fence on 21 occasions, including four times in the first session of day 2, Shorey was stunned when Gurbani got one to jag back from a shorter length and knock over the off-stump.
Gurbani delivered three more scorchers on either side of Shorey’s dismissal, all resulting in the stumps getting knocked over. Trouble awaited them as Gurbani got one to prodigiously cut back and remove an unmoved Mishra’s off-stump with the fifth ball of the 101st over. Saini, who got stuck to the crease, quickly went back to the dressing room as his stump was also sent flying by another sharp in-cutter.
Delhi (1st innings): K. Chandela c Fazal b Thakare 0, G. Gambhir b Wakhare 15, D. Shorey b Gurbani 145, N. Rana lbw b Thakare 21, R. Pant c Wadkar b Gurbani 21, Himmat Singh c Wadkar b Gurbani 66, Manan Sharma c Fazal b Neral 13, Vikas Mishra b Gurbani 7, N. Saini b Gurbani 0, Akash Sudan (not out) 0, K. Khejroliya b Gurbani 0. Extras (lb 3, nb 2, w 2) 7. Total (in 102.5 overs) 295.
FoW: 1-1, 2-30, 3-65, 4-99, 5-204, 6-242, 7-290, 8-290, 9-295.
Bowling: Thakare 26.1-4-74-2, Gurbani 24.4-8-59-6, Neral 19-3-57-1, Wakhare 16-5-34-1, Sarwate 14-2-60-0, Fazal 1-0-5-0, Sanjay 2-0-3-0.
Vidarbha (1st Innings): F. Fazal c Pant b Akash Sudan 67, R. Sanjay b Akash Sudan 31, W. Jaffer (batting) 61, Ganesh Satish lbw b Saini 12, A. Wankhade c Pant b Khejroliya 28, A. Wakhare (batting) 0. Extras (b 5, lb 2) 7. Total (for 4 wickets in 67 overs) 206.
FoW: 1-96, 2-107, 3-133, 4-206.
Bowling: Sudan 15-2-53-2, Saini 17-3-57-1, Rana 5-0-11-0, Khejroliya 13-3-30-1, Vikas 17-4-48-0.