Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Not for "the first time", Unadkat shows he can bat for Saurashtra

Veteran left-arm pacer played a crucial knock in the final against Vidarbha.

Unadkat showed why he has six previous half centuries to his name | Twitter

Saurashtra were 85 runs behind Vidarbha's first innings total of 312 in the ongoing Ranji Trophy final when skipper Jaydev Unadkat came out to bat. Only two wickets left, the western rivals had a lot of work to do if they were to stay competitive in the all-important encounter. 

This is when their captain stood out with an invaluable 46-run knock that saw crucial partnerships with Kamlesh Makvana and Chetan Sakariya. Unadkat ensured that Vidarbha's lead is only five runs at the end of both team's first sojourns with the bat and he is quite relieved about it. 

"I wasn’t batting well throughout the season," he told Sportstar on the sidelines of the VCA ground in Nagpur, "I had this one due for long and to do it when the team needed it most in the final is something I was hoping to do. I am happy it came through. I could have done it previously as well. I can bat. It is not that I have done it for the first time."

Unadkat, who has six half-centuries in his career and missed out on another one by a whisker, credited the guidance from veteran India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for his vigil at the crease. 

"The only thing Cheteshwar told me is to be positive and not try to play them out or be defensive," he said, "On that wicket, it was difficult to defend everything. It helped me. I played a couple of shots going into it which gave me the confidence."

Unadkat also lavished rich praise on No.11 Sakariya for his unbeaten 28. 

"The grit that he showed was amazing. He was determined even after getting hit by the Umesh bouncer. He was bowling fast. In that spell, he was trying to get that one wicket. To see that someone showing that determination shows what this team is made up of."

"Chetan showed a lot of character in this partnership. He kept telling me, ‘I will play and I am not going to get out’ and that’s what he did. I started getting a lot of confidence straightaway in him and that’s why we got those runs," he added. 

Vidarbha is currently batting on 80/5 in their innings on Day 4. 


By Kashish Chadha - 06 Feb, 2019

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