Ranji Trophy final: Vidarbha become sixth team to defend title
Aditya Sarwate claimed 11 wickets in Vidarbha's 78-run win in the Ranji Trophy final. © PTI

Hosts Vidarbha on Thursday beat Saurashtra at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur to reclaim the Ranji Trophy title they won last year for the first time in 60 seasons.

This makes them the sixth team in the competition’s 84-year history to defend the title in the immediate season after they won it.

Chasing a target of 206 to win the trophy, Saurashtra were bowled out for 127 with Vidarbha’s left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate claiming 6/59 to complete an 11-wicket haul in the final. (AS IT HAPPENED: RANJI TROPHY FINAL, DAY FIVE)

The last team to defend the title was Karnataka who won the Ranji Trophy in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. Prior to that Rajasthan won the title in consecutive seasons (2010-11, 2011-12).

Mumbai won the trophy in 2008-09 and defended their crown in 2009-10; overall, the domestic giants have an outstanding record, repeating title triumphs in 2002-03 and 2003-04, 1993-94 and 1994-95, 1983-94 and 1984-85, thrice in a row from 1974 to 1977, an astonishing 15 consecutive seasons from 1958 to 1972 and before that in the 1955-56 and 1956-57 editions and 1934-35 and 1935-36.

Karnataka also won the title in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. The others teams to have won the Ranji Trophy in successive seasons are Delhi (1978-79, 1979-80) and Maharashtra (1939-40, 1940-41).

Speaking to CricketCountry before the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season began, Vidarbha skipper Faiz Fazal stressed on the team’s focus on not taking it easy after they got their hands on the prize.