New Delhi: Nitish Rana played the "best knock" of his first-class career as Delhi shocked defending champions Vidarbha by six wickets in an incredible final day run chase in the Ranji Trophy in New Delhi on Wednesday.
With this memorable run chase on day four, Delhi handed Vidarbha their first outright defeat in a first-class game after three years.
Chasing 347, Rana, who has made a name with his big-hitting exploits in the Indian Premier League, smashed an unbeaten 105 off only 68 balls as Delhi reached the target in 73 overs, leaving Vidarbha gutted.
Delhi now have 16 points and stay in hunt for a quarter-final berth while Vidarbha stay put on 17 points.
The chase was set up by openers Kunal Chandela (75 off 146) and Hiten Dalal (82 off 146) with a steady stand of 163 in under 49 overs.
A magnificent knock by Nitish Rana, pull of a brilliant run chase against defending champions Vidarbha. Delhi win the match by 6 wickets.
Congratulations to all the supporters of the Delhi team. pic.twitter.com/h9azfmfWuv
— DDCA (@delhi_cricket) January 22, 2020
The left-handed Rana then took charge and sent the Vidarbha bowlers including fancied Umesh Yadav (0/85 in 19 overs) on a leather hunt with eight fours and seven sixes.
"I had promised our coach (KP) Bhaskar sir that if its 75 overs and around 320 runs, we will win. This is the best first class knock that I have played. I haven't forgotten the 2017 final in Indore, which Vidarbha won without playing outstanding cricket.
"I knew I can hit their spinners out of the ground," Rana told reporters having ripped opposition off-spinner Akshay Wakhare (64 off 9 overs) with slog sweeps, cuts and drives.
Vidarbha coach Chandrakant Pandit took a gamble with a sporting declaration but it backfired as a side with its back to the wall produced the best performance of the season.
Openers Kunal and Hiten played confidently without taking pressure on an eased out track.
Once Rana came in, Vidarbha sensing danger, deployed a negative field '7-2' (seven on the off side) field.
Their pacers Rajneesh Gurbani (0/64 in 12 overs) started bowling on an imaginary seventh off stump line.
The umpires started calling no ball and then Delhi started attacking as they were forced to change the line.
"I knew they would bowl negative line but what I didn't like was time-wasting tactic. Once they started bowling within the stumps, I knew I will blast them if it's in my arc," said KKR's dependable middle-order batsman.
"This is my natural game and I don't like advise if people come and tell me to change my mindset. I only welcome advise when I need them," he said.
Brief Scores: Vidarbha 179 and 330/4 declared lost to Delhi 163 and (target 347) 348/4 (Nitish Rana 105 no off 68 balls, Kunal Chandela 75, Hiten Dalal 82). Points: DELHI 6. VIDARBHA 0.
In Valsad: Gujarat 281 and 167 beat Punjab 229 and 109 all out (Gurkeerat 34; Nagwaswalla 5/50). Gujarat won by 110 runs. Points: Gujarat 6, Punjab 0.
Sarfaraz's 300 helps Mumbai take first-innings lead
Mumbai: Staying true to his words, young Sarfaraz Khan stuck his maiden triple 100 to singlehandedly give Mumbai the crucial first-innings lead and grab three points on the last day of their Elite Group B Ranji Trophy match against Uttar Pradesh in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Uttar Pradesh had posted a humongous 625/8 declared in their first-essay courtesy wicket-keeper Upendra Yadav's unbeaten maiden double-ton.
But Sarfaraz's (301 not out off 391 balls; 30x4; 8x6) herculean task overshadowed Yadav's double-ton on a flat track, which had absolutely nothing for the bowlers even on the final day.
Right-handed Sarfaraz was the cynosure of all eyes at the Wankhede Stadium, as he batted for as long as 633 minutes and hammered 30 fours and eight sixes.
What is more special about his knock is that the pint-sized batsman was suffering from fever two nights ago, but he came out to bat and did the job for his team.
Sarfaraz, who had played for Uttar Pradesh and returned to Mumbai, had all shots in the book.
But more importantly, contrary to his style, he showed restraint and respected the good balls.
Sarfaraz, in the process, became the seventh Mumbai batsman to score a triple ton in first-class cricket and joined the illustrious list comprising Wasim Jaffer (301 and 314 not out), Rohit Sharma (309 not out), Ajit Wadekar (323), Sunil Gavaskar (340), Vijay Merchant (359 not out) and Sanjay Manjrekar (377).
The hosts resumed the final day on overnight score of 353/5 needing 273 more runs to overhaul Uttar Pradesh's first innings total, with 22-year-old Sarfaraz unbeaten on 132 in company of his skipper Aditya Tare, who was unbeaten on 9.
Mumbai had a difficult task at hand, but the way Sarfaraz, who had faith in his abilities, built his innings, was remarkable.
Sarfaraz and Tare tore into a listless UP attack, as they were determined to fetch three points.
They ensured that the first session remained wicketless, as Mumbai went into lunch at 434/7.
Tare played a perfect second fiddle, as the duo launched a counter-attack.
Sarfaraz first got able support from Tare (97 off 144 balls, 14x4) and then Shams Mulani (65 off 82 balls; 5x3; 1x6), as they took the game away from Uttar Pradesh.
While Sarfaraz and Tare added 179 runs for the sixth wicket, he and Mulani added 150 runs for the seventh wicket and it was their partnership that ensured Mumbai crossed Uttar Pradesh's first-innings total.
Sarfaraz, who had completed his individual 250, took a single, as Mumbai surpassed Uttar Pradesh's mammoth total and celebrated like the team had won the match.
Then Mumbai allowed Sarfaraz to complete a well-deserved 300.
He completed his triple ton with a six over wide long on, after which the match was called off.
Uttar Pradesh bowlers struggled on day three and four and had an off day on the field.
They were able to take only take two wickets on the final day.
Mumbai play Himachal Pradesh next in away encounter at Dharamshala, and Sarfaraz's innings would have given the 41-time Ranji Trophy champions confidence that they can make the knock-outs.
Brief Scores: Uttar Pradesh 625/8 declared v/s Mumbai 688/7 (Sarfaraz Khan 301 not out; Siddesh Lad 98; Ankit Rajpoot 3-133) Mumbai took first-innings lead. Mumbai 3 points, Uttar Pradesh 1 point.
At Dharamshala: Himachal Pradesh 496 v/s Baroda 150/2 (Vishnu Solanki 85 not out; Vaibhav Arora 1-42). Match Drawn. Himachal Pradesh 1 point, Baroda 1 point.
At Indore: Saurashtra 344 and 256/9 (Harvik Desai 115, Cheteshwar Pujara 69; Gourav Yadav 4-65) v/s Madhya Pradesh 280 and 223/9. Match Drawn.
Saurashtra took first-innings lead. Saurashtra 3 points, MP 1 point.
Deobrat's unbeaten 93 helps Jharkhand beat Uttarakhand
Ranchi: Opener Kumar Deobrat's unbeaten knock of 93 helped Jharkhand beat Uttarkhand by six wickets in a Ranji Trophy Group 'C' match in Ranchi on Wednesday.
Requiring 203 for victory, Deobrat mixed caution with the aggression as his 157-ball knock included 13 fours and two sixes on Day 4.
The right-handed opener was involved in a 97-run partnership for the third wicket with Kumar Suraj (49, 59 balls, 8 fours, 1 six) which put Jharkhand on the way to victory.
Resuming at 76 for 1, Jharkhand suffered an early jolt when Utkarsh Singh was caught behind by Saurabh Rawat off Akash Madhwal for 7.
This brought together Deobrat and Suraj and their stand took the team close to the target.
Suraj fell eight runs short of the target and it was left to Deobrat and skipper Saurabh Tiwary (6 not out) to see the team home.
In another match, Maharashtra beat Assam by 218 runs in Guwahati. The visiting team bundled out Assam for 78 in the second innings to record a crucial win after conceding the first innings lead. Akshay Palkar with a six-wicket haul did the star turn for Maharashtra.
Jammu & Kashmir (32 points) leads Group 'C' standings after a win over Odisha (28 points) followed by Jharkhand (22 points) after the sixth round.
Brief scores: Uttarakhand 227 all out in 53.2 overs (Saurabh Rawat 66, Tanmay Srivastava 49; Ajay Yadav 6/55, Ashish Kumar 4/52) and 273 all out in 72.2 overs (Saurabh Rawat 110; Ashish Kumar 5/61, Shahbaz Nadeem 3/67) lost to Jharkhand 298 all out in 87 overs (Kumar Deobrat 85, K Suraj 57; Mayank Mishra 5/100) and 203 for 4 in 48.4 overs (Kumar Deobrat 93 not out, Kumar Suraj 49) by six wickets. Jharkhand: 6, Uttarakhand: 0.
At Guwahati: Maharashtra 175 all out in 43.4 overs (Ankit Bawane 75, SS Bachhav 40; Arup Das 4/66, Ranjeet Mali 4/55) and 365 for 9 declared in 111.3 overs (JS Pande 130, VV More 57, SS Bachhav 51 not out; Ranjeet Mali 5/123) vs Assam 244 all out in 78.1 overs (Rishav Das 94; SS Bachhav 4/44) and 78 all out in 29.5 overs (Ashay Palkar 6/42, Mukesh Choudhary 3/30). Maharashtra: 6 points, Assam: 0.
Goa second innings resistance denies Chandigarh six points
Povorim, Goa: Goa were at their defiant best with dogged half-centuries from opener Sumiran Amonkar and Amulya Pandrekar as their Ranji Trophy Plate group clash against Chandigarh ended in a draw in Povorim on Wednesday.
Trailing by 242 runs with eight wickets in hand in their second essay, the overnight duo of Amonkar and Pandrekar showed fine resistance in a 113-run partnership.
Amonkar made a 290-ball 64, while Pandrekar got out just before tea with a 183-ball 60 as the duo virtually saw through the first two sessions to thwart Chandigarh's bid for six points.
In the final session, skipper Amit Verma (9) and Amonkar got out for the addition of just seven runs but Snehal Kauthankar (30 not out) and Suyash Prabhudessai (seven from 60 balls) put up another dogged resistance as Chandigarh had to settle for three points on the basis of their first innings lead.
With one-point from the match, Goa slipped to second place, three points behind Puducherry. Chandigarh remained in third place with 26 points from six matches.
In another match at Sovima, Rongsen Jonathan slammed 200 not out as Nagaland escaped with a draw against Bihar who settled for three points by virtue of their first innings lead.
At Povorim: Goa 251 and 253/6 from 118 overs (Sumiran Amonkar 64, Amulya Pandrekar 60, Smit Patel 40) vs Chandigarh 580/7 declared. Match drawn. Points: Chandigarh 3, Goa 1.
At Sovima: Nagaland 166 and 444/4 from 91.5 overs (Rongsen Jonathan 200 not out, Shrikant Mundhe 94) vs Bihar 509/7 declared. Match drawn. Points: Bihar 3, Nagaland 1.
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Another source said that all the other players will undergo COVID-19 tests on Tuesday with the results coming by evening. Bihar has sent 22 players for testing.
Mumbai bowlers led by experienced pacer Dhawal Kulkarni (3/35) restricted Delhi to 211/7 despite a valiant unbeaten 106 off 145 balls by Himmat Singh and then cantered to the target in 31.5 overs as Prithvi tore into the Delhi attack.
The 74-year-old former India captain had undergone a bypass surgery at the hospital last month after he complained of heart problems. He underwent the procedure on his brain just after the bypass surgery.