Delhi will clash against Vidarbha © AFP & PTI
Delhi will clash against Vidarbha © AFP & PTI

The 84th edition of Ranji Trophy is nearing its conclusion. After months of gruelling cricket, Delhi and first-timers Vidarbha will clash at Indore on Friday to be named  Ranji Champions. Heading into the marquee clash, both sides had contrasting fortunes in the semi-finals.

Delhi were dealt with a crucial blow after skipper Ishant Sharma, was ruled out due to injury. His absence saw the rise of Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya. Bengal were at the receiving end of a special innings from Gautam Gambhir, who scored 127. Then Saini Khejroliya rocked an experienced Bengal line-up to tatters to gift Delhi an innings and 26-run win.

Vidarbha, on the other hand, came out victorious in a nail-biter against Karnataka. Faiz Fazal’s side rode on Rajneesh Gurbani’s brilliance alone. The lanky fast bowler claimed 12 wickets — 5 for 94 and 7 for 68 — at Eden Gardens to land Vidarbha in their first-ever Ranji final in its rich history.

There are quite a few key clashes that could decide the outcome of the final.

Gurbani will challenge Gambhir aiming his second title win, in his conquest of a first.  Gambhir has been in terrific form in the ongoing season, having accumulated 632 runs. The winner of this clash could decide which team takes the upper hand.

Fazal, the second-highest run-getter this season, will be eager to make his bat do the talking. His march is likely to halted by Saini, who is having a breakaway season, having scalped 29 wickets. Saini has been Delhi’s go-to-man this season and getting the better of Fazal could be an icing on the cake.

Ranji Trophy’s most prolific scorer Wasim Jaffer will be hopeful of adding another championship to his cabinet. Jaffer has always been a big-match player, and this is Vidarbha’s biggest game till date.

Jaffer will be up against Vikas Mishra, Delhi’s best spinner this season. Jaffer’s ability to thwart spinners midway will be test for 25-year-old. 

Conditions:

Since its inclusion in the BCCI scheme of affairs, Indore has been one of most well-received stadiums. The pitch at Indore is expected to be sporting and offer something for bowlers and batsmen alike.

Both sides have good blend of experience and young blood that makes this contest an intriguing affair. Players who shine here can go on to earn an India cap, while players who flop will live to fight another day.

To conclude this preview let us read into the most important factor in this match: pressure.

Delhi will eye their 8th Ranji Trophy title while Vidarbha will be chasing their first. Delhi’s rich history will definitely be added pressure, but Vidarbha’s inexperience may play a role as well.

For Vidarbha, the only player to have crossed the pressure-barrier is Jaffer. His presence alone will boost the morale of others.