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Last Updated Thursday March 22 2018 05:09 PM IST

Ranji: Jaffer consolidates Vidarbha's position after Gurbani hat-trick

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Wasim Jaffer Wasim Jaffer holds the key to Vidarbha's hopes of a big first innings lead. PTI

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.

With the match hanging in the balance, how Delhi bowlers perform during the first hour of the third day, could well prove to be decisive.

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 also included centurion Dhruv Shorey (145), 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.

Rare feat Rajneesh Gurbani, second left, became the second bowler to pick up a hat-trick in a Ranji Trophy final. PTI

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 defense 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 two, 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 disarranged.

Gurbani got one to prodigiously cut back and disturb 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.

Vidarbha began their innings in earnest and went to lunch without suffering any damage while scoring 45 runs.

This season's most prolific opening duo of skipper Faiz Fazal (67) and Sanjay Ramaswamy (31) started the second session from where it had left, adding another 51 runs, before Akash Sudan sent Ramaswamy's stumps flying for the team's first breakthrough.

That brought Jaffer in to the middle. An unfazed Fazal continued playing his shots and brought up his fifty with a paddle-sweep off left-arm spinner Mishra. Sudan, playing only his second first-class game, dealt Vidarbha a body blow when the medium-pacer had Fazal caught behind after the batsman prodded casually to a delivery that was moving away.

Faiz Fazal Faiz Fazal made a fine 67. PTI

Fazal faced 101 balls scoring 10 boundaries.

Fazal, the first-time finalists' leading scorer in the season, drove with panache and employed the shots square off the wicket effectively.

Two wickets in the bag, Delhi captain Rishabh Pant brought back his best bet Saini into the attack and it paid dividends.

Veteran Ganesh Satish (12), coming off a crucial second-innings half-century in the semifinal against Karnataka, did not last long and was trapped in front of wicket by Saini. It was just reward for consistently running in hard and hitting the deck harder.

Jaffer looked solid in the middle and hard as they tried, Delhi could not dislodge the seasoned campaigner as an eventful day's play came to an end.

Before that, he entertained the sparse weekend crowd with a few delightful shots - a superb drive past the mid-on, a punch through point and cover drive that had lazy elegance written all over it.

Eight-time Ranji Trophy winner with Mumbai, Jaffer used his wrists to flick Mishra and then glanced him to the third man fence for another boundary.

Delhi kept pressing and were rewarded when tireless left-arm seamer Kulwant Kejroliya induced an edge from Apoorv Wankhade for Pant to complete a comfortable catch at the fag end of the day.

Read also: More Cricket News | Injured Djokovic to miss Qatar Open

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