Ranji Trophy is on to a thrilling finale with both Saurashtra and Vidarbha equally competent to make the final cut. As the two teams slough it out for the ultimate honours, here are the Top 5 bowers in the current edition of the competition that impressed us the most:
Right-arm medium-fast bowler Tanvir Mashart Ul-Haq was one of Rajashtan’s bright spots in the team’s march to the quarterfinals.
The Dholpur-born cricketer scalped 51 wickets in 10 matches at an 18.52. Moreover, he had an economy rate of 2.75, aided by a huge 96 maidens that he bowled in 343 overs.
His best figures of 6/42 came against Jharkhand when he led his team to a 92 run victory.
With the young Rajasthan team evolving with time and experience, Ul-Haq will play an important role in this transition.
Gurinder Singh has surprised many, probably even himself, with his sublime performances for Meghalaya.
The 26-year-old all-rounder decided to switch from home team Punjab to Tripura in 2016, and there has been no looking back ever since.
After 8 group matches, Singh was the second highest wicket-taker in the competition with 53 wickets at an economy rate of 2.53 and average of 16.92.
He returned with five-wicket hauls on 5 occasions, along with a 10-wicket haul against Mizoram 11/56. Not only with the ball, but Gurinder has also made the presence felt with his willow as well. He managed to score a total of 569 runs in the 2018-19 season, including two centuries apart from a score of 99 in another innings.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Saurabh Kumar comes in at the fourth spot with his excellent bowling performance for Uttar Pradesh in Ranji Trophy this season.
The 25-year-old bowler was simply a revelation for the team, scalping 51 wickets in the campaign. What caught everyone’s eye was his low average of just 17.74 matched up with a low economy rate of 2.43. Kumar’s biggest highlight of the season, though, has been the maidens that he has bowled- 113- that he managed in 10 matches. That figure is the highest in the Ranji Trophy.
However, his accomplishments don’t stop there. He recorded the tournament-best figures of 14/65 in the match against Haryana in Rohtak.
Kumar first took as many as 7 wickets in the first innings to help wrap up Haryana for a paltry 110/10. He oversaw a similar haul in the second innings to help UP to an easy 6-wicket victory. That feat also earned him a well-deserved man-of-the-match award.
Saurashtra fans were left irked with local favourite Ravindra Jadeja’s absence in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy finals as their team struggled to bowl out Vidarbha early on. The reigning Champions, stuttering at 139/6, went on to end the first innings at 312 courtesy of the tailenders.
Ravindra Jadeja shld have been allowed to play RANJI TROPHY final for Saurashtra.
— Pankaj Nautiyal (@NautiyalG___) February 5, 2019
— Saurav Kumar Rai (@Sauravkumarrai1) January 28, 2019
If Ravindra Jadeja was not going to feature in any of the matches, the team management should have worked a way out to ensure that he flies to India to play in the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha in Nagpur. #NZvIND
— Nitin Naik (@toi_nitinnayak) February 3, 2019
Ravindra Jadeja should have got a chance in today's game otherwise send him back to India so that he can play for Saurashtra in Ranji Trophy Final. #sportstakofficial #AskSportsTak #AakashVani #cricket #CricketkiBaat #Cricbuzzlive #BCCI #RanjiTrophy #sanjaymanjerkar
— Pankajsinha2706 (@Pankajsinha2701) January 31, 2019
However, another Jadeja stood up that made the difference for the Rajkot-based team went by the name Dharmendrasinh.
Popular by the diminutive DA, Jadeja has been living in the shadows of Ravindra for the most part of his career. Being a left-arm orthodox spinner, like his famous namesake, didn’t help his cause either.
However, this has been a breakthrough season of sorts for the Rajkot-based player. Jadeja scalped 54 wickets* in the season (* at the time of writing), making him the second-best wicket-taker in the league. Agreed, he might not have the best figures when it comes to average (28.29), economy rate (3.25), or strike-rate (52.1).
However, none of that mattered, as his efforts were enough for his team to reach the finals. One striking feature about Jadeja’s scalps is that they all have come at the most important juncture of time.
Take the quarterfinals for instance. With the team staring at a certain defeat, it was Jadeja who ran through the top order of Uttar Pradesh in the second innings. Along with Chetan Sakariya, he was instrumental in restricting the North Indian side for 194/10. That laid a strong foundation for Saurashtra to put up Ranji Trophy’s highest run chase.
In the semi-final as well, Jadeja scalped a perfect figure of 5 wickets to help Saurashtra to a 5-wicket victory over Kerala.
Ashutosh Aman. Remember the name. The 32-year late-bloomer has been Ranji Trophy’s most prolific bower this season. Probably one of the best in the competition’s history.
The Bihar left-arm spinner etched his name into the Indian cricket’s history books after he pinned Satpam Singh for an lbw on 8th January.
That wicket helped him get past Bishan Singh Bedi’s record of most wickets in a Ranji Trophy season. Bedi, a former India captain, and left-arm spinner had scalped 64 wickets in the 1974-75 season for Delhi of India’s most prestigious domestic tournament.
Aman, on the other hand, managed 11 wickets in Bihar’s last group clash of the season, ending the campaign with 68 wickets. What is even more impressive is his mind-boggling average of just 6.48.
The Gaya-resident’s best performance of the year came away against Meghalaya, where he scalped a massive 14 wickets. His figures were joint best along with Saurabh Kumar in the category.
Aman’s sudden rise on the domestic cricket is quite astonishing, considering he broke into the Bihar squad only last year after scalping 14 wickets in eight matches of the Vijay Hazare Trophy season. He has league-leading figures of most ten-wickets in a match (5) and most ten-wickets-in-a-match (10).
Aman’s bowing antiques were a major reason why Bihar won 6 of their eight Ranji trophy group matches. However, despite garnering 40 points, the team fell short to Uttarakhand by only four points in the race for the knockouts.
Ashutosh Aman that's what you call a flying start! Brilliant spell. Congratulations.? pic.twitter.com/6UX5PztL4w
— Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) January 10, 2019