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RESULT
Final, Eden Gardens, February 16 - 19, 2023, Ranji Trophy
PrevNext
174 & 241
(T:12) 404 & 14/1

Saurashtra won by 9 wickets

Player Of The Match
3/44 & 6/85
jaydev-unadkat
Player Of The Series
907 runs
arpit-vasavada
Report

Jaydev Unadkat leads from the front as Saurashtra win second Ranji Trophy title

Captain grabbed 6 for 85 in the second innings, as hosts Bengal suffered a batting collapse of 5 for 11 on fourth morning

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
19-Feb-2023
The victorious Saurashtra team after winning their second Ranji Trophy, Bengal vs Saurashtra, Bengal vs Saurashtra, Ranji Trophy 2022-23 final, Kolkata, 4th day, February 19, 2023

The victorious Saurashtra team after winning their second Ranji Trophy  •  ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Saurashtra 404 (Vasavada 81, Jani 60, Mukesh 4-111) and 14 for 1 (V Jadeja 10*, Desai 4*, Deep 1-5) beat Bengal 174 (Shahbaz 69, A Porel 50, Sakariya 3-33) and 241 (Tiwary 68, Majumdar 61, Unadkat 6-85) by nine wickets
A run-out. Of a key home batter. At the non-striker's end. At Eden Gardens, much to the anguish of the crowd. Rings a bell? It brought heartbreak to India in that famous 1999 Test against Pakistan; it inflicted a massive heartbreak to Bengal in their 2022-23 Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra on Sunday.
Shahbaz Ahmed is no Sachin Tendulkar, but Bengal's hopes of whittling down their deficit and opening up a lead they could try and defend depended on his partnership with his captain Manoj Tiwary. When they resumed on the fourth day still 63 behind, this was the stand Bengal would have hoped would get them into the lead and beyond.
Those hopes came crashing down just like that, after a grave misjudgment in trying to steal a third run in the sixth over of the day. Could they have just settled for two? Perhaps. Was there a chance of a third? Definitely. Was there a miscommunication? Most definitely.
Tiwary's neat flick through midwicket nearly went to the boundary. But Arpit Vasavada gave it a chase from the infield like his life depended on it. And in one motion, he not just retrieved the ball but also fired a superb throw on the bounce to Jaydev Unadkat. Tiwary, who had initially called for the third, then froze.
By then, Shahbaz had already turned and was more than halfway down the pitch. He didn't even bother looking back as Unadkat pounced on the ball to knock off the bails and celebrate wildly. A crestfallen Tiwary looked heavenwards, not wanting to make eye contact while a disappointed Shahbaz yanked his gloves and stormed off. At 194 for 5, Bengal were still 36 behind.
With a rookie in Abishek Porel and the lower order to follow, the onus was now on Tiwary to put behind him the run-out. But it seemed as if it was playing on his mind over and over again. A nothing waft to gully off Unadkat two overs after Shahbaz's wicket all but sealed Bengal's fate.
Tiwary's slow walk back for a defiant 67 told you a story - of being so near, yet so far. This was his fourth crack at Indian domestic cricket's biggest prize, and in all probability, the fourth time the title was going to elude him. Laxmi Ratan Shukla, the coach, didn't waste a moment in walking over to quietly to give Tiwary a pat, even though he knew it was game over.
By then, Bengal's lower order had decided they were going to throw their bats at everything. And in doing so, there were some mistakes and wholesome entertainment all at once, as Abishek pulled one straight down to deep square off Chetan Sakariya.
Soon after, Unadkat once again showed his absolute mastery with the old ball in reversing it from around the wicket to have Akash Deep lbw, and Akash Ghatak clean bowled for his fifth wicket. Ishan Porel and Mukesh Kumar then swung their bats at everything and wiped out the deficit, much to the dressing room's amusement. When Unadkat ended the innings with a slower ball to flatten Ishan's stumps, Saurashtra had to come out and knock off only 12 runs to win.
A jubilant Sheldon Jackson sprinted to the stumps to pick one for posterity, only to be told there was a simple matter of knocking off a handful of runs. But that didn't take long to come, and while they lost Jay Gohil, his opening partner Hardik Desai and Vishwaraj Jadeja brought up victory soon after with a boundary.
The entire Saurashtra team sprinted on to the field. They huddled together, gave each other big bear hugs. Mount Kolkata had been breached. Three years ago, they had beaten Bengal on a slowburn of a Rajkot deck for the maiden title. Now, they had breached Bengal's fortress on an Eden green top. Victory couldn't have been sweeter.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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English
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Ranji Trophy

Elite, Group A
TEAMMWLDPTQuotient
BENG7412321.573
UKHND7304291.365
HP7214211.459
BRODA7214211.324
ODSA7124140.846
UP7124130.980
HRYNA7124130.855
NAGA705220.297
Elite, Group B
TEAMMWLDPTQuotient
SAU7322261.277
AP7421261.119
MAHA7304261.345
MUM7322241.533
TN7214211.225
DELHI7223170.902
ASSAM7133110.546
HYD706110.523
Elite, Group C
TEAMMWLDPTQuotient
KNTKA7403351.763
JHK7322231.102
KER7313210.992
RAJ7223201.118
CGR7340190.958
GOA7223180.906
SVCS7241130.753
PONDI715190.763
Elite, Group D
TEAMMWLDPTQuotient
MP7511331.414
PNJB7304271.605
RLYS7322221.123
VIDAR7322201.197
GUJ7241140.899
TPURA7025110.760
J + K714280.768
CHD702570.490
Plate Group
TEAMMWLDPTQuotient
MEGHA5410251.421
SIKM5311201.401
MNPR5311201.253
BIHAR5113141.258
MIZO513180.921
ARP505000.353