All-round Vidarbha floor Delhi, created among the 23 champions
NAGPUR: Wicketkeeper Pawan Parnate's journey this season was all
about warming benches till the gutsy stumper played a match-winning
knock of 88 runs on Friday to guide Vidarbha to their fourth title
of the season across all age categories.
Vidarbha won by four wickets after the bowlers restricted Delhi to 211 in the final to lift the Under-23 One-Day Trophy in Hyderabad.
It was their eight title in last 26 months. Their journey to silverware started 25 months ago in January 2017 when the U-16 outfit secured first-ever BCCI trophy for Vidarbha when they won the Vijay Merchant Trophy in 2016-17 season in Indore.
In the following season (2017-18), Vidarbha won historic-first Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy, U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy.
In the current season, Vidarbha pocketed Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy, U-19 Vinoo Mankad Trophy before winning the U-23 title courtesy thanks to Parnate's half-century on Friday.
Parnate, who played first two league matches of U-23 one-dayers on February 14 and 15, has always been in the scheme of things but could not get into playing eleven. He was benched in the U-23 CK Nayudu Trophy. Later, he was sidelined in the entire Ranji season.
On Friday, Parnate was included in the playing eleven for the all-important final as regular wicketkeeper Siddhesh Wath was ruled out due to a rule, which permits only three Ranji Trophy players in the XI. Wath had to sit out as Ranji Trophy players Atharva Taide and Darshan Nalkande were included at the last moment and Mohit Kale was leading the side. The rule paved the way for Parnate, who grabbed the opportunity with both the hands and sealed the deal for Vidarbha.
Chasing 212 for the title, No.3 Parnate (88; 132b, 6x4) held the fort till the target was achieved. He stitched a crucial 123-run partnership with Nayan Chavan (48; 65b, 4x4) for third wicket that lifted Vidarbha from precarious 25 for 2.
The Parnate-Chavan duo stabilized the innings with calculated ones and twos. Chavan got out when Vidarbha were 85 runs away from the target. Later, Parnate along with skipper Kale (29; 40b, 3x4) added 43 runs before Kale was sent packing, leading to mini collapse as Vidarbha lost three wickets between 171 and 178.
All-rounder Nalkande (24 n.o. off 15b) joined Parnate in the middle. Nalkande changed the complexion of the match with two sixes and two fours, while Parnate held his end firm.
Earlier, Kale relied on his in-form bowlers and chose to field. In-form left-arm spinner Parth Rekhade (10-0-33-4) continued his dominating show. Rekhade removed well-set Vaibhav Kandpal (39) and Lalit Yadav (65) to keep the opposition under pressure.
Towards the end, No.7 Sumit Mathur (52 off 65) charged against all Vidarbha spinners. However, his attacking knock was cut short by pacer Nachiket Parande (2-38).