Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat extended his prolific form in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season with a spell of seven wickets against Gujarat and in turn has taken his tally this season to 65 wickets, the most by any fast bowler in the history of the tournament in a single season.
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The left-arm pacer returned with the match-winning figures of 7/56 in the second innings of the semifinal against Gujarat in Rajkot on Wednesday. With the three scalps in the first innings, Undakat’s match figure stood at 10/142.
However, his record of total 65 wickets this season has seen him surpassing Karnataka’s Dodda Ganesh who had taken 63 wickets in 11 matches 21 years ago in the 1998-99 season.
Unadkat also stands three wickets behind Ashutosh Aman’s figure of 68 wickets, the most by any cricketer in a single season of Ranji Trophy. The 33-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner from Bihar, Aman achieved the feat in the previous season.
Riding on the brilliance of Unadkat, Saurashtra broke a longstanding resistance from Gujarat batsmen Parthiv Patel (93 off 148) and Chirag Gandhi (96 off 139). The duo put on a partnership of 158 runs after half of the team had gone back to the pavilion chasing 327.
After Patel’s departure, Gujarat lost the remaining four wickets for just 14 runs as Saurashtra booked their place against Bengal in the marquee clash of Indian cricket’s most important domestic tournament.
Earlier, batting first, Saurashtra had put on 304 in their first innings, courtesy Sheldon Jackson’s 103 off 204 deliveries, before bundling Gujarat for 252, a score the Unadkat-led team felt was too much after sending half of the team for just 95 runs.
The Gujarat bowlers lacked inspiration in the second innings as well despite starting off brilliantly. After reducing the home team to 15/5 and forcing them to an inevitable collapse, the touring bowlers helped Saurashtra to extend their lead beyond the 300-run mark.