Ranji Trophy Final: 150 target would be gettable, says Saurashtra cricketer Desai
Saurashtra's Desai says bowling out Vidarbha quickly will be key on a tricky pitch after conceding 1st innings lead
They have been outstanding with their chase during the knockout matches but the Ranji Trophy final would be a different ball game due to the slow and low wicket, says Saurashtra opener Harvik Desai, who believes a target of around 160 would be gettable. Saurashtra chased 372 in the quarter-final against Uttar Pradesh and knocked down a target of 279 against Karnataka in the semi-finals.
With two full days to go, Vidarbha are ahead by 60 runs with eight wickets in hand and Desai said bowling them out quickly would be key if they are to win their maiden Ranji Trophy title.
"The wicket is slow and is offering spin. A target in the vicinity of 150-160 would be gettable. Yes, we have chased bigger targets before, but it would be different here because of the wicket. It's difficult to score runs on this tricky pitch," said Desai after end of third day's play. He said there was enthusiasm in the dressing room after the last wicket pair of captain Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya added 60 runs to concede just a five-run lead.
Resuming at a precarious 158 for five, Saurashtra's lower order batsmen showed remarkable gumption and grit to take the first innings to 307, just five short of hosts's first innings total.
With the first innings lead virtually nullified, Vidarbha in their second innings lost skipper Faiz Fazal (10) and R Sanjay (16) to left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (2-36) before ending the day at 55 for two.
The hosts now lead by 60 runs with reliable Wasim Jaffer (5) and Ganesh Satish (24) at the crease. There are six sessions left in the match and Saurashtra, who have had a happy knack of chasing down fourth innings totals, will certainly fancy their chances.
Overnight batsman Snell Patel (102) completed his first century of the season and when India pacer Umesh Yadav sent him back after smacking one on his helmet, Saurashtra were still 128 runs away from Vidarbha's total of 312 all out.
"If we had a bigger lead to erase, it would have been a lot more difficult. Everyone was positive and raring to go for wickets in the last session. We are confident, we will do it," Desai said. Vidarbha spinner Akshay Wakhare said there is no doubt that they have missed out on cashing in on the advantageous position.
'Unadkat played well'
"We could have taken a bigger lead but Jaydev [Unadkat] played well. We were attacking [Chetan] Sakaria more but he also got set and understood that staying at crease for long was possible on this wicket," he said. "There was no help from the wicket. It is not only slow but it's getting low too. The match is evenly poised." Asked why Rajneesh Gurbani was not used in the entire first session of three hours, Wakhare said, "We thought the spinners would do the job."
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