The Big Picture
Tenacity. Controversy. Rear-guard action. Heartbreak. Cheteshwar Pujara. All of these words were a constant during last week's Ranji Trophy semi-final between Saurashtra and Karnataka.
It was edge-of-seat stuff; one that got social media buzzing- yeah, you read that right. In an era where a gully cricket match would attract more eyeballs than a Ranji Trophy would nearly everyone was talking about the game; for different reasons though. One name was a common denominator in all those discussions- Cheteshwar Pujara.
While people whose allegiance was with Karnataka questioned Pujara's 'spirit-of-the-game' for standing his ground after edging the ball which everyone seems to have heard barring the man who mattered- the Umpire, other's admired the Indian No.3 for his tenacity- reminiscent of his heroics in Australia, as his unbeaten century paved the way for an entry into the finals of the Ranji Trophy.
Pujara has been a major boost to Saurashtra ahead of the knockouts, but one must not forget the contribution of the likes of Sheldon Jackson [838 runs at 52.37], Harvick Desai, who scored a century in the record-breaking chase in the Q/F or the all-around show by Dharmendrasinh Jadeja [237 runs, 52 wickets] and the fast bowling spearhead, Jaydev Unadkat [35 wickets at 16.74].
All of the aforementioned names will have to be at their best to upset Vidarbha because there is only one adjective to describe their performance in the semi-finals against Kerela- Relentless. While their batting-led by Wasim Jaffer, Faiz Fazal, and Akshay Wadhkar has been the cornerstone of their success in the tournament, it was their fast bowling-led by Umesh Yadav, which was on full show in the semi-finals.
Spearheaded by Umesh Yadav's 12-wicket-haul, the defending champions flexed their muscles in the semi-finals against Kerela to stake their claim to the summit clash. Yadav has emerged to be one of the best exponents with the SG ball in Indian conditions and his battle with Saurashtra's batting-led by Cheteshwar Pujara may well decide which team goes on to become Ranji Trophy champions.
Venue:- Vidarbha Cricket Association, Nagpur
Match Timing:- Sunday, February 03, 2019, 09:30 AM IST
Do you know?
- Saurashtra will be eyeing for their first Ranji Title since 1943-44 and put to bed the horrors of 2015 where they lost the finals to Mumbai.
- Vidarbha will aim for back-to-back titles after they defeated Delhi last year.
Akshay Wadkar(w), Mohit Kale, Rajneesh Gurbani, Umesh Yadav, Yash Thakur, Akshay Karnewar, Lalit M Yadav, Aditya Thakare, Shrikant Wagh, Faiz Fazal(c), Sanjay Ramaswamy, Wasim Jaffer, Atharwa Taide, Aditya Sarwate, Ganesh Satish
Harvik Desai, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Jaydev Unadkat(c), Chetan Sakariya, Chirag Jani, Kishan Parmar, Hardik Rathod, Shaurya Sanandia, Snell Patel(w), Vishvaraj Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sheldon Jackson, Aarpit Vasavada, Prerak Mankad, Kamlesh Makvana