Jaydev Unadkat rocks Delhi with first-over hat-trick
Saurashtra captain takes career-best figures of 8 for 39 in Rajkot
Jaydev Unadkat had ended 2022 with a memorable Test comeback after 12 years. He began 2023 by taking a hat-trick in his first over on his return to the Ranji Trophy, and went on to achieve career-best figures of 8 for 39 against Delhi in Rajkot.
Unadkat, the Saurashtra captain, removed Dhruv Shorey, Vaibhav Rawal and Yash Dhull off the third, fourth and fifth deliveries of the match, after Delhi's captain Dhull had chosen to bat on winning the toss. It was the first ever first-over hat-trick in the history of the Ranji Trophy; the previous earliest hat-trick in a match was by Karnataka fast bowler Vinay Kumar, whose hat-trick in the 2017-18 quarter-final against Mumbai was spread across the first and third overs.
Dear red ball..#RanjiTrophy pic.twitter.com/SkQyfeUQCn— Jaydev Unadkat (@JUnadkat) January 3, 2023
By the end of his second over, Unadkat had added two more wickets to complete his 21st five-wicket haul in first-class cricket. When he trapped Lalit Yadav lbw for a four-ball duck, Delhi were tottering at 5 for 6, with Unadkat's figures reading: 2-0-5-5. They were eventually dismissed for 133 as Unadkat returned to mop up the tail, taking eight wickets in an innings for the first time in his 98-match first-class career.
Of his wickets, the first one of Shorey was particularly significant. After three rounds of Ranji Trophy matches this season, Shorey is currently the highest run-getter with 579 runs in six innings at an average of 144.75.
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The match is vital for Saurashtra in their quest to make the knockouts. After three games, they are currently third in Group B with 12 points, including one win and two draws. Mumbai and Maharashtra are currently placed first and second.
Unadkat is in the middle of a dream run, both as bowler and captain. Last month, he was the leading wicket-taker for Saurashtra during their run to the Vijay Hazare Trophy title, picking up 19 wickets in 10 matches at an economy of 3.33. Then, having earned a Test recall in Mirpur, Unadkat picked up his maiden Test wicket and ended the match with three scalps as India recorded a 2-0 series win in Bangladesh.