Vidarbha continued their dominance in the Indian domestic scene by winning the Irani Trophy for the second consecutive time but their gesture after the end of the match was a sight to behold. In the post-match presentation, skipper Faiz Fazal announced that the team was donating the entire prize money won during the tournament to the families of the CRPF jawans who were killed in the Pulwama terror attack on Thursday. Vidarbha joins other sporting teams and celebrities who have done their bit to help the country heal after the deadliest attacks on the armed forces in years.
The efforts of the Vidarbha team after the end of the match summed up their brilliance also on the field where they became only the third team after Bombay and Karnataka to win the Irani Trophy twice. A stupendous all-around display in all three departments of the game saw the Rest of India get hammered in the most obnoxious manner possible. On the day 5 of this thrilling Cup, Ganesh Satish pumped the air in delight as he steered Vidarbha closer to the title.
The toss had fallen in Rest of India’s skipper Ajinkya Rahane who asked the opposition to have a bowl first. For ROI, Mayank Agarwal and Anmolpreet started off the innings. The duo managed to hit a few boundaries at the start and showed the positive intent before Faiz Fazal’s favourite aide Rajneesh Gurbani ripped Anmolpreet’s stumps. The Punjab swashbuckler departed for mere 15 runs off 21 deliveries.
His departure led the arrival of the India star Hanuma Vihari, who didn’t know that he is playing the game of his life. The two sensations of Indian cricket smashed the bowlers around the park to register 125 runs partnership. Post this, Mayank Agarwal played a rash shot and missed out on a well-deserved hundred by five runs.
Further, Hanuma Vihari continued to play some dazzling shots and scored 114 runs. His innings was laced with 11 boundaries and two sixes and a decent strike-rate of 54.03. His dismissal led ROI to be in a little trouble as Aditya Sarwate and Akshay Wakhare dented the lower order to restrict ROI score to 330.
In reply, Vidarbha played as a unit and started their dominance from the first ball itself. Skipper Faiz Fazal along with Sanjay Raghunath put up a 50-run partnership and one will have to say, that Vidarbha was off and running. Vidarbha went on to score 425 runs in their first innings, giving ROI a 95-run trail.
In ROI’s second innings, the team lost both the openers early and it looked as if ROI has been trapped in jail with no one there to rescue. Being all at sea, Hanuma Vihari along with the skipper Ajinkya Rahane played through the line to rebuild the innings. The duo played with full fortitude to help the team be in a good position.
Hanuma went on to score his second ton of the game, while Rahane scored a well-fought 87 off 232 deliveries which eventually turned out to be a blessing in disguise for him personally as wasn’t selected in the India squad for the series against Australia.
Rahane also took one of the worst captaincy decisions of his life as he declared the innings when ROI had just 269 run lead. In the final and fourth innings of the game, Vidarbha lost their skipper for a duck on the third ball of the first over. Then- it looked the decision taken by Rahane was spot on. However, what followed was nothing short of the team’s brilliance.
ROI: 330/10 in 89.4 overs (Hanuma Vihari 114; Wakhare 3/62)
Vidarbha: 425/10 in 142.1 overs (Akshay Karnewar 102; Rahul Chahar 4/112)
ROI: 374/3 d in 107 overs (Hanuma Vihari 180; Sarwate 2/141)
Vidarbha: 269/5 in 103.1 overs (Ganesh Satish 94; Rahul Chahar 2/116)
Man of the Match: Akshay Karnewar