An unbeaten 133 by Sheldon Jackson and a hat-trick from Chirag Jani powered Saurashtra to a five-wicket win over Maharashtra in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final on Friday at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.
A solid 125-run opening stand between openers Jackson and Harvik Desai (50) ensured Saurashtra were up and running in the 249-run chase early on. Jay Gohil was dismissed for nought by Mukesh Choudhary (2/38) and Vicky Ostwal (2/20) struck twice to dismiss middle order batters Samarth Vyas and Arpit Vasavada for 12 and 15 runs respectively. That may have threatened to take the momentum away from Saurashtra but the presence of a well-set Jackson ensured that the match did not go down the wire.
Earlier in the match, Maharashtra managed to post a competitive total of 248/9 after being asked to bat first and getting off to a slow start. Maharashtra got there thanks to a third successive century from their skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad. The right-hander, who scored 220* in the quarterfinal against Uttar Pradesh and 168 in the semifinal against Assam, finished with 108 runs off 131 deliveries, with seven fours and four sixes, in the final against Saurashtra.
Maharashtra found themselves in a serious spot of bother after struggling for the better part of their innings. They had put up just 105 runs from 31.3 overs when their third wicket fell and were in need of a big push. And that’s exactly what they got from their skipper.
Gaikwad upped the ante from there on and found boundaries consistently. Saurashtra pulled things back again in the 49th over, with right-arm pacer Chirag Jani dismissing Saurabh Nawale, Rajvardhan Hangargekar and Vicky Ostwal to complete a hat-trick.
Apart from Jani, seasoned left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat provided Saurashtra with a crucial spell of bowling at the top and returned with impressive figures of 1/25 from his 10 overs.
Here’s a look at some of the reactions from the match: