Vidarbha's 29-game-long undefeated streak, dating back to November 2016, came to an end this Wednesday (January 22) when the team lost to Delhi at the Arun Jaitley Stadium by six wickets in the ongoing Ranji Trophy.
Even though aided by a surface that got better to bat on as the match progressed, it was still a remarkable turnaround for the hosts against the defending champions.
Vidarbha was bundled out for just 179 in the first innings where Ishant Sharma (3/45) and Simarjeet Singh (4/39) did the bulk of the damage with the ball. Wasim Jaffer yet found a way to pile on 83 difficult runs.
In response, though, Delhi managed only 163, conceding a lead of 16 runs; wicketkeeper batsman Anuj Rawat top-scoring with only 37 after Akshay Wakhare's fantastic spell (7/55).
Vidarbha then stretched its lead to a mammoth 346, declaring at 330/3 with Ganesh Satish making an unbeaten ton (100*), Sanjay Raghunath (57), Akshay Wadkar (70) scoring half-centuries and skipper Faiz Fazal (43), Jaffer (40) contributing forties.
With the loss of Ishant to an ankle injury very early in the second innings and the surface playing better than it did, bowling was a lot more hardwork for Delhi in the second half.
Chasing the humoungous 347, Kunal Chandela (75) and Hiten Dalal (82) got their team off to a great start, stitching an opening stand of 163 runs.
No.3 Nitish Rana then scored one of his career's best hundreds (105*) off just 68 balls and with support from Dalal, captain Dhruv Shorey (44) and Rawat (18*) took his team home when no one expected Delhi to win.
It was quite a setback for a strong Vidarbha team that has found a way past most opponents in the last two seasons.
"I told the team that if we get a good opening stand, I’ll ensure we win the match. I was confident as it was a good wicket to bat on," Hindustan Times quoted Rana as saying after the great win.
"I was keeping an eye on that railing (just above the stand). I know that if the sun comes to that level, the light starts to become a problem," added the left-hand batsman who was wary of the sun going down early in Delhi and Vidarbha's tactics of wasting time at the closing stages.
Vidarbha 179/10 (Wasim Jaffer 83; Simarjeet Singh 4/39) & 330/3 declared (Ganesh Satish 100*; Kulwant Khejrolia 1/59) lost to Delhi 163/10 (Anuj Rawat 37; Aditya Thakare 7/55) & 348/4 (Nitish Rana 105*; Akshay Wakhare 1/64) by six wickets