Kolkata: Rajneesh Gurbani continued his fine form with the ball as his seven wickets helped Vidarbha clinch a thrilling five-run win over former champions Karnataka at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.
The Vinay Kumar led-side already had lost seven wickets on the fourth day in their pursuit of 198 to win the match and it only took some brilliance from Gurbani to help Vidarbha seal a berth in the Ranji Trophy final for the very first time. They would now battle Delhi, a team which dominated their semi-final clash against Bengal, to get their hands on the coveted Ranji Trophy title for the first time.
As the margin of victory would suggest, the match wasn’t a one-way traffic at all as Karnataka skipper Vinay Kumar played some good cricket in the morning to take his team closer to the target. He also received some able assistance from Shreyas Gopal who remained unbeaten on 24 at the end. Pacer Abhimanyu Mithun, who had wreaked havoc with the ball on the first day also scored a timely 33 but failed to take his team over the line.
The Vidarbha speedster who had made some serious impact on the match ended Karnataka’s fightback after dismissing Srinath Aravind for two runs. Gurbani, who had taken five-for in the first innings ended the match with a total of 12 wickets to hand his team a thrilling win-one which they would remember for a long time to come.
The Kolkata morning fog couldn’t stop their celebrations as the players jumped in joy and rejoiced this historic moment for Vidarbha cricket.
Karnataka 301 all out and 192 all out (Vinay Kumar 36, Shreyas Gopal 24; Rajneesh Gurbani 7/68) lost to Vidarbha 185 all out and 313 all out by 5 runs.