Reigning Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha completed a coveted double crown by winning the Irani Cup beating Rest of India by virtue of massive first innings lead. The hosts had made a mockery of the contest when they decided to post a record total of 800 in their first innings and then bowled out Rest of India for 390 on the final day of the match. Vidarbha won by virtue of huge 404-run first innings lead.
With Rajneesh Gurbani (4/70) doing the primary job of dismissing the top-order, left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate (3/97) polished the lower-order despite Andhra batsman Hanuma Vihari's gutsy 183. Out-of-favour India all-rounder Jayant Yadav scored 96 as the duo added 216 runs for the seventh wicket showing that there were no demons on the pitch.
Vidarbha coach Chandrakant Pandit's decision to bat on and on in order to tire out the ROI batsmen yielded results. None of the top-order were able to show desired footwork after spending 15 hours on the field.
Pandit's tactic got his team the trophy but at the same time raised the question of why coaches and teams don't think that killing the contest only drive people away from the game. Vidarbha's approach of win at all costs only left the contest poorer.
Resuming at 236/6, Vihari was the lone ranger hitting 23 boundaries and three sixes in 327 balls. Jayant on his part hit 14 boundaries off 230 balls.
Sarwate finally broke the partnership in the 106th over when Jayant in his bid to complete his hundred was stumped by Akshay Wadkar. Vihari carried on and was the last Rest of India batsman to be dismissed as his bid to hit Aditya Sarwate over long-on failed.
For Rest of India - only three players crossed 25-run mark - Prithvi Shaw, Vihari and Jayant.
The match was called off at the start of the mandatory overs with Vidarbha scoring 79 for no loss. Such was the farce that Rest captain Karun Nair even made Prithvi Shaw bowl.
Ravichandran Ashwin didn't bother to bowl during the inconsequential last hour.
Brief Score: Vidarbha: 800/7 dec. & 79/0 in 26 overs Rest of India: 390 all out in 129.1 overs (G Hanuma Vihari 183, Jayant Yadav 96, Rajneesh Gurbani 4/70).
(With PTI Inputs)