Vidarbha fast bowler Rajneesh Gurbani on Saturday (December 30) became only the second bowler to take a hat-trick in a Ranji Trophy final. The 24-year-old picked up four wickets in seven balls to bowl out Delhi for 295 in the first innings at Holkar Stadium in Indore.
Tamil Nadu's B Kalyanasundaram was the only man until Saturday to have picked up a hat-trick in the final of the prestigious domestic tournament. The right-arm medium pacer had achieved the feat against Bombay in the 1972-73 title match. However, his team had lost.
A lot was expected of Gurbani as he had single-handedly led Vidarbha to their maiden Ranji Trophy final after stunning favourites Karnataka with 12 wickets in the last-four round earlier this month.
However, Vidarbha suffered a big setback in the final session on the opening day of the final as Gurbani walked off the field with an ankle injury. He had picked up the wickets of Himmat Singh (66) and Rishabh Pant (21) on Friday.
Much to the delight of his teammates, Gurbani was up and running on the morning session of Day 2 in Indore.
Four unplayable deliveries (Check out the video here)
It all began when Gurbani bowled a delightful inswinger that cleaned up Vikas Mishra in the penultimate ball of the 101st over of Delhi's innings. The lanky pacer hit the same spot again and broke through Navdeep Saini's defence in the last ball of the over.
Coming back to bowl the 103rd over for Vidarbha, Gurbani deceived top-scorer Dhruv Shorey with yet another unplayable inswinger for his hat-trick. Delhi's number 11 Kulwant Khejroliya tried to counter-attack only to make the long walk back to the pavillion after failing to make contact with an outswinger.
Gurbani has now taken five-wicket hauls in each of his last three innings. He is second on the list of most wicket-takers this season with 37 scalps at an average of 15.56.
Gurbani walks the talk
Gurbani seems to be a man of his words. The young seamer, after the semi-final win, had said the "real celebrations" would come only after his team lifts the trophy in the final.
"The real celebrations will come after we cross the final hurdle. We have come too close now, we'll rest only when the job is done," Gurbani had told "The Field" website.
Gurbani has certainly put Vidarbha in a commanding position. It's now up to their batsmen to build on the bowlers' good work.