On this day in 2020: Saurashtra win their maiden Ranji title

March 13, 2020, marked an emotional moment for Saurashtra as after losing three finals earlier, they finally managed to cross the finishing line this time and lifted their maiden Ranji Trophy after the final against Bengal ended in a draw. The thing that made the victory sweeter was the fact that it came at their home while playing at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.

The five-day first-class match commenced on March 9, 2020, with the home captain Jaydev Unadkat winning the toss and electing to bat first. The players completely justified the decision made by their skipper as Saurashtra managed to put a comprehensive total of 425 runs on the board.

Bengal fail to go past first innings

The left-handed batsman Arpit Vasavada emerged as the wrecker-in-chief for his team in the first innings as he played a scintillating knock of 106 runs. Veteran Cheteshwar Pujara, wicketkeeper A Barot and Vishvaraj Jadeja also made valuable contributions by adding 66, 54, and 54 respectively to the scoreboard.

Akash Deep emerged as the pick of the bowlers for Bengal as he scalped four wickets including Vishvaraj Jadeja, A Barot, Chetan Sakariya, and Chirag Jani. Apart from him, Shahbaz Ahmed scalped three wickets of Harvik Desai, Arpit Vasavada, and Jaydev Udankat while Mukesh Kumar and Ishan Porel had two and one respectively under their belt.

Batting in the second innings, Bengal could score only 381 runs while staying in the pitch for about 161 overs. The scorecard of Bengal read Sudip Chatterjee being the highest run-getter with 81 runs to his name. Apart from him Anustup Majumdar and wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha contributed positively by adding 63 and 64 runs respectively.

Saurashtra clinch the title

For Saurashtra, DA Jadeja took three wickets while Jaydev Unadkat and Prerak Mankad had two each under their belt. The third innings saw the hosts again scoring 105 runs while losing just 4 wickets by the second half of the fifth day. Even though 70 overs were left on the last day after the Bengal innings came to a close, it wasn’t enough for them to bowl out Jaydev Unadkat’s men. At the end of the 34th over, the captains of both sides shook hands, deciding that they had enough.

According to the original rules, if the final fixture of the first-class competition is heading for a draw, the winner is decided based on the first-innings lead. Thus, the trophy went to Saurashtra as they were leading the game by the end of the first innings.