Gurbani roars with record hat-trick

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Dec 2017 09:49:38


By Anupam Soni,

Pacer’s six-wicket haul puts Vidarbha in driver’s seat

FORTUNE favours the brave, they say. Vidarbha’s seam sensation Rajneesh Gurbani was up to the saying, on Saturday. Of late, Gurbani has had some great moments on the field. The young seamer was instrumental in taking his side to their maiden Ranji Trophy finals. His 12-wicket match haul against Karnataka in the semi-final would definitely find a place in the annals of Vidarbha cricket. On the second day against Delhi in the summit clash, he decorated his resume by adding a hat-trick, only the second in the history of Ranji final, while completing his fifth consecutive five-wicket haul.

Gurbani became the second bowler after Tamil Nadu’s B Kalyanasundaram to take a hat-trick in Ranji final. Kalyanasundaram achieved this feat in 1973 against Bombay at Madras.“I was not aware of the record when I took that hat-trick. It was only afterwards that I was told that I am just the second person to do it in a Ranji Trophy final. It is dream of every bowler to take hat-tricks and five-wicket hauls. It is a very special feeling and I am happy that I got both in one match,” an elated but shy Gurbani said after the second day’s play in Indore.

The young engineering graduate was not at his best on the opening day of the final in Holkar Stadium. An ankle niggle had prevented him going full steam. Though he bowled his heart out and picked two important wickets on the opening day, he did not look that devastating. The niggle finally forced him to abandon an over during end of the day. The niggle started to haunt him again after he sent down a couple of overs starting the proceedings on Saturday morning. But the brave Gurbani did not give up. He did not leave the field and instead got some medical aid between the overs.What followed was the stuff folklores are made of.

In his sixth over of the day (99th overall), he sowed doubts in the minds of the batsmen. A big inswinger hit Shorey on the box. The overnight centurion was shaken. He was tended to by the support staff. The big swing had its impact as Shorey was beaten all ends up on the next ball. Vikas Mishra was witnessing all the action from the non-striker’s end.

In the next over, another big inswinger sent Mishra’s off stump cart wheeling. Next ball to Navdeep Saini was almost identical, producing the same result. This time, the uprooted stump was the middle one. On the next ball of his fresh over, Gurbani duly completed his hat-trick. This time Shorey was the batsman and the inswinger did not spare the centurion too, clean bowling him. “When he started playing in Guzder League B division, Rajneesh used the same inswingers to pick wickets. It is his stock ball and he relies on it with full confidence,” Gurbani’s team-mate at Dr Ambedkar College Sports Academy revealed.

In the same over, Gurbani (6-59) struck once again, disturbing the timber of last man Kulwant Khejroliya. This was the bowler’s fifth five-wicket haul in succession. Gurbani’s hat-trick was fourth overall for Vidarbha. Off-spinner and former captain Preetam Gandhe had hat-tricks on two occasions while India pacer Umesh Yadav was the last one to take three in three.