Ranji Trophy 2017: Vidarbha chase history in title clash vs Delhi

first_imgVidarbha will be chasing history when they take the field on Friday against Delhi, who will be chasing their eighth title at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.After five decades, Vidarbha will finally have a crack at the title in their 267th Ranji Trophy match. But standing in their way will be a Delhi side led by young Rishabh Pant, who have the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Nitish Ran and Unmukt Chand in their ranks. A battle-heartened Delhi have put behind their mediocre performances in the last two seasons and look rejuvenated in their bid to lift the title.Vidarbha will certainly be the underdogs but their consistent performances to reach the final will be a tough challenge for the hungry Pant-led side, who last won the title a decade back.Delhi have certainly had a great turn-around from last season, where their off-field antics made more news than what was going on it. The spat between then captain Gautam Gambhir and coach KP Bhaskar was out in the open and that severely affected their performances.Gambhir has come out rejuvenated and the out-of-favour India opener has scored three centuries and two fifties this year and would be happy to add to it. From scoring a crucial 95 in the fourth-innings quarterfinal chase against Madhya Pradesh to the century versus Bengal in the last-four stage, Gambhir has had a decisive role in the team’s progress to the final, and a substantial outing here would be befitting. Talking about his form he said that he is looking to score runs and help his team because that’s what makes him happy.advertisement”It has been satisfying (season). You want to put your hands up and perform in crucial games for your team. That’s what the team expects you to do as well. Scoring runs makes me happy. It keeps me motivated. Winning a game of cricket is equally important to me,” Gambhir told Mail Today in an interview.Gambhir gave up the captaincy and it has certainly helped him. Talking about it he said: “Sometimes I feel I have done enough. Captaining the entire season is a very long time. It is not like the IPL where you just finish in two months. Captaining day in and day out can be very tiring as well. So I thought it is time someone else does it.”However, given Vidarbha’s spirited run to their maiden title clash, Delhi are well aware of the threat the first-timers could pose over the next few days.Not one to take anything for granted, Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant said on the eve of the match,”We are just focused on the job at hand. We know we will have to play really well to win the match.”Medium pacer Rajneesh Gurbani has become the toast of the domestic scene since he ran through season favourites Karnataka’s a star-studded batting line-up in the semifinal in Kolkata.Vidarbha hero Gurbani reflects on �??dream come true�?? moment. While speaking to https://t.co/LpYM4tHRTK the fast bowler says he was determined to book his team�??s maiden @paytm #RanjiTrophy final berth – https://t.co/Ffu8QHYzU8 pic.twitter.com/jZZzcXxZEH- BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) December 21, 2017Gambhir’s much-younger opening partner, Kunal Chandela, too is coming off a century in the semi-final, and Delhi are fortunate to enter the season’s biggest game with their openers in top form.Nitish Rana has scored a lot of runs batting in the middle-order.The seven-time winners have a young captain in Pant and though he has had a quiet season, the wicketkeeper would certainly look to impress the national selectors present there, with handsome contributions.Navdeep Saini, the 25-year-old pacer, has been a consistent wicket-taker for Delhi this season. His seven- wicket match haul against Bengal in the semifinal contributed to his team s innings win.The bowler from Karnal, whose rise has been documented over the past few days, meant business in the group stages too, picking up wickets against Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.Saini’s pace bowling colleague, Kulwant Khejroliya too took four wickets against Bengal, as the duo bundled out their opponents for a paltry 86 in the second innings.Left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra has been the leading wicket-taker for Delhi this season, and has shone through the league, snaring a bag full of wickets against Madhya Pradesh, Hyderabad, Maharashtra and Railways. He has been accompanied by another left-arm spinner, Manan Sharma.As far as Vidarbha are concerned, their charge has been led by the experienced Faiz Fazal (843 runs at an average of 76.63) and his opening partner, Sanjay Ramaswamy (735 runs at an average 66.81).advertisementLast but not the least are veteran Wasim Jaffer and coach Chandrakant Pandit, who have won multiple titles with Mumbai.The duo have been inspiration for the Vidarbha youngsters as they know the recipe for winning India’s blue riband trophy.Squads Vidarbha: Faiz Fazal (C), Sanjay Ramaswamy, Wasim Jaffer, Ganesh Sathish, Apoorv Wankhede, Vinod Wadkar (WK), Aditya Sarwate, Akshay Wakhare, SiddeshNeral, Rajneesh Gurbani, Karn Sharma, Shalabh Srivastava, Siddhesh Wath (WK), Akshay Karnewar, Suniket Bingewar, Ravikumar Thakur, Aditya ThakareDelhi: Rishabh Pant (C and WK), Gautam Gambhir, Kunal Chandela, Dhruv Shorey, Nitish Rana, Himmat Singh, Manan Sharma, Vikas Mishra, Vikas Tokas, Navdeep Saini, Kulwant Khejroliya, Akash Sudan, Shivam Sharma, Unmukt Chand, Milind Kumar.(With inputs from PTI)last_img

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