Wasim Jaffer    PTI
Wasim Jaffer playing his ninth Ranji final for the first time hit the winning runs PTI

Vidarbha capped off a memorable Ranji Trophy 2017-18 by clinching their maiden title, beating Delhi by 9 wickets in the final. Pitted against the seven-time winners in their first ever final appearance, Vidarbha displayed an all-round show to down their opponents across all departments.

The sides competed hard on Day Four. For Delhi, Dhruv Shorey, Nitish Rana, Mishra and Sudan managed to extend the inevitable. From Vidarbha’s perspective, Akshay Wakhare and Aditya Sarwate lunged forward time and again to snatch Ranji title from Delhi s grasp.

Dhruv and Rana depleted Vidarbha s lead over-by-over. Having scored a hundred in the first innings, Shorey batted with confidence and found gaps consistently. Gautam Gambhir fell for a quick 37-ball 36 to Rajneesh Gurbani.

Rana, known for his IPL exploits, joined in the fun and fared well in the middle. The pair continued to defy Vidarbha and reached their respective personal milestones in the post-lunch session.

Shorey recorded his sixth, and Rana slammed his fifth First-Class half-century during their 114-run stand. The stand was cut in short by Gurbani, who claimed Shorey for 64. Then wickets started to tumble. Himmat and Rishabh Pant fell in quick succession. Pant looked out-of-sorts in the middle during his 36-ball stay. Mishra and Manan carved out an entertaining partnership. The pair ensured Delhi did not lose the match by an innings. Mishra, in particular, tore into Wakhare hitting him for 20 runs, including 2 fours and 2 sixes.

With time nearing close of play, Sarwate took things into his own hands and cleaned up Mishra and Sudan in the same over to end Delhi s innings for 280.

Vidarbha needed 29 runs to win their maiden title. Skipper Faiz Fazal missed out; wrongly adjudged leg-before off Kulwant Khejroliya.

However, Wasim Jaffer was in no mood to take the match to Day Five. He smacked 3 fours en route his run-a-ball 17. Jaffer, playing his ninth Ranji final, guided the side to their maiden championship with Sanjay Ramaswamy for company.

This match will be remembered for Gurbani s hat-trick, Jaffer s gritty 78 and Shorey s 133 in the first-innings for Vidarbha and Delhi respectively.

This is also the second time in consecutive years that an underdog side has won Ranji Championship at Indore (Gujarat in 2016-17); 18th overall.

Speaking about statistics, Gurbani ended the season as the second-highest wicket-taker with 39 scalps. Fazal (912) and Ramaswamy (775) too claimed the second and third spot in most runs scored in this edition. Jaffer, who is leading the charts with most runs in Ranji Trophy history, had a good season with the bat as well. He scored 595 runs at 54.09, that includes 1 hundred and 3 half-centuries.

Brief Scores

Delhi 295 and 280 (Dhruv Shorey 62, Nitish Rana 64; Akshay Wakhare 4 for 95) lost to Vidarbha 547 and 32 for 1 (Sanjay Ramaswamy 9* ; Wasim Jaffer 17* ; Kulwant Khejroliya 1 for 21) by 9 wickets.

Man of the Match: Rajneesh Gurbani.