In cricket, there have been stoppages to play due to rain, wet outfield, power failure, riots, bomb blasts, snow and even the odd angle of the sun. However, have you heard a cricket match being stopped due to a snake on the outfield? Yes, this true story happened. The match at the Dr. Gokaraju Liala Gangaaraju ACA Cricket Ground in Vijayawada hosted the opening game of the 2019/20 Ranji Trophy season between Andhra and two-time defending champions Vidarbha. However, the match was held up as there was a snake in the outfield. Play was held up slightly for a couple of minutes and the match proceeded with Vidarbha choosing to bowl against Andhra. The video was shared by the official domestic Twitter handle of the BCCI.
At lunch, Andhra were 87/3 with Hanuma Vihari scoring a gritty 43 with Yash Thakur taking two wickets and Rajneesh Gurbani taking one wicket. The match is special for Wasim Jaffer as he became the first man in Ranji Trophy history to play in 150 matches. In the final against Saurashtra at the VCA stadium in Jamtha in 2019, Faiz Fazal’s team won by 78 runs to regain the trophy while for Saurashtra, they had to face heartbreak for the third time after losing two finals to Mumbai. Throughout the season, there were some magnificent performances which boosted Vidarbha at crucial times in the season.
Wasim Jaffer continued his record-breaking run as he scored 1000 runs in the season yet again to take his Ranji Trophy run-tally close to 12000 while there were contributions from skipper Faiz Fazal and Akshay Wadkar. Aditya Sarwate, the star of the final with 11 wickets, was the leading wicket-taker for Vidarbha with 55 wickets in 11 games and he got good support from Akshay Wakhare with 34.
In the entire Ranji Trophy season, Vidarbha did not lose a single match and their major achievement was beating 41-time champions Mumbai by an innings and 146 runs. The season also featured Umesh Yadav taking a five-wicket haul to get the better of Kerala in the semi-final by an innings and 11 runs.