Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022-23: Saurashtra produces all-round performance to sink Maharashtra; wins second title
Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022-23: It was an all-round performance from Saurashtra as it sunk Maharashtra in Ahmedabad on Friday. It was the former's second-ever VHT title, and social media was impressed.
Sheldon Jackson played one of the most important innings of his career, an unbeaten 133, to guide Saurashtra to its second Vijay Hazare Trophy title, as it comfortably beat Maharashtra by five wickets in the final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahemdad on Friday. Saurashtra's well-oiled bowling unit, led by its skipper, tamed a formidable batting line-up from Maharashtra before old domestic warhorse Jackson's unbeaten century overshadowed national contender Ruturaj Gaikwad's 108 to chase down a target of 249 with 21 balls to spare.
"I think the toss did play a crucial role. We were lagging. It was a 30-70 per cent of advantage/disadvantage. After 30-40 overs, we were ahead. Batting first, 250 was a magnificent total," Gaikwad said after the match. As Gaikwad rightly conceded, that toss did become one of the major deciding factors as Unadkat rightly put Maharashtra into bat.
At the onset, he led the bowling show with a good opening spell (6-1-5-0) in the Powerplay after electing to field as Gaikwad batted in a painstakingly slow fashion scoring 15 off the first 61 balls. "(It is) unbelievable and yet to sink in. Winning one time is amazing but winning it the second time proves that we are a champion side. Big game, big guys stepped up," the champion skipper said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
While Unadkat (1/25 with 41 dot balls) was Saurashtra's bowling hero in the first ten overs, keeping the dangerous Gaikwad under a tight leash, the last ten overs of the Maharashtra innings belonged to all-rounder Chirag Jani. The seam bowling all-rounder's 48th over hat-trick (Saurabh Nawale, Rajvardhan Hagargekar and Vicky Ostwal) did stop Maharashtra from adding at least 20 more runs.
Bowling wicket-to-wicket, Jani cleaned up Nawale and Hangargekar and then sealed his hat-trick, trapping Vicky Ostwal plumb in front. Maharashtra managed just two boundaries and scored 37 runs losing five wickets in the next seven overs in a crucial turning point for Saurashtra. In the middle overs, it was another Gaikwad show as he carved his name as a 'Vijay Hazare legend' with his 12th hundred (highest in competition history) with seven fours and four sixes.
Gaikwad thus had three hundred in three knock-out games, but on a slow track, Saurashtra bowlers never really let the Maharashtra batters dominate, with the second-best score being Azim Kazi's 31. With Saurashtra bowlers making the perfect execution against him, Gaikwad fought hard for his hundred, which was evident with his roaring celebration when he notched his century off a boundary against Jani.
Chasing a below-par target, Saurashtra got off to a perfect start with Jackson and Harvik Desai (50; 67 balls) stitching a 125-run opening stand in 26.4 overs. Mukesh Choudhary (2/38) then gave a double blow, dismissing Desai with a short ball and Jay Gohil (0) with angular one in the space of three balls while a third wicket -- Samarth Vyas (12) was holed in the deep of Ostwal's bowling.
Saurashtra lost half of their side in 39.5 overs after left-arm spinner Satyajeet Bachhav cleaned up all-rounder Prerak Mankad as the match was evenly poised, with Saurashtra needing 57 in 10.1 overs. However, Bacchav was hammered by Jackson, who hit four out of his five sixes off the left-arm orthodox's bowling.
But Maharashtra failed to apply pressure, and some sloppy fielding let them down. India's U-19 World Cup Rajvardhan Hangargekar (0/70 in 9 overs) got a fair amount of paste. The match ended when Jackson despatched seamer Manoj Ingale over square leg for a six and played the leg glance to chase down the target.
Brief Scores: Maharashtra 248/9 (Gaikwad- 108, Kazi- 37; Jani- 3/43) lost to Saurashtra 249/5 in 46.3 overs (Jackson- 133, Desai- 50; Chaudhary- 2/38, Ostwal- 2/20) by five wickets.
(With inpust from PTI)