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February 5, 2006
Saurashtra 408 beat Rajasthan 201 and 173 (Jadeja 80, Jobanputra 6-77) by an innings and 34 runs
Sandeep Jobanputra and Rakesh Dhurv shared ten wickets between themselves as Saurashtra polished off Rajasthan for 173 and claimed victory by an innings and 34 runs in the Ranji Trophy Plate Group final at Rajkot.
Jobanputra, who had taken 5 for 44 in the final session yesterday to restrict Rajasthan to 99 for 5, picked up his sixth wicket when he knocked one through Dishant Yagnik's defences 10 overs into the fourth day. His figures of 6 for 77 from 26 overs of medium pace were his best in first-class cricket. Aiding him in his efforts was Dhurv, who ran through the Rajasthan tail with career-best figures of 4 for 18 from 10.2 overs.
Standing tall amid the deluge was Ajay Jadeja, Rajasthan's captain, who top-scored with 80 from 119 deliveries with 13 fours. Jadeja was also the highest scorer in his side's first-innings 201, but a lack of support from his team-mates could not sustain his counterattack for long. With 684 runs at 97.71 this season, Jadeja has been Rajasthan's batting stalwart. After making the move from Delhi to the neighbouring desert state, he can at least lay claim to having carried his adopted side to the final hurdle in their campaign to make the Elite Group. "It's some thing to look back and feel happy about,'' Jadeja told The Hindu after the match..
Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, presented the Plate trophy to his son Jaydev, the Saurashtra captain. For Saurashtra, the positives augur well for their progression into the Elite Group. Jobanputra has been a consistent performer for Saurashtra this season with 23 wickets, and his eight wickets and 54 from the No.10 spot in the first innings were key factors in his side's impressive win. Sandip Maniar's 38 wickets are a group-high, while Shitanshu Kotak has carried on his impressive form throughout the season. While it remains to be seen how they contend with the big fish, for now Saurashtra can look back at a job well done.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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