The middle-order batsman knew his team needed him to stay in the middle. The captain was in despair. He slowly walked into the dug-out with disappointment written on his face. Vidarbha, once again, had handed an advantage to Baroda in the summit clash of Cooch Behar Trophy.
The in-form Vidarbha all-rounders Harsh Dubey (65 off 73b) and Manan Dosi (52 off 164b) made amends with their valiant batting effort. Later, Dubey (4/39) combining with leg-spinner Rohit Dattatraya (3/44) tried their best to defend 112-run target.
They had even reduced Baroda to 85/7. However, Baroda somehow found their way to win the final with a three-wicket victory at the Civil Lines Stadium.
It was Vidarbha’s second consecutive runners-up finish in the tournament after they had emerged champions in 2017-18. Vidarbha have plenty to ponder after this loss. Their shot-selection was bizarre in both the innings, which cost them the title.
If openers Avesh Sheikh and Mandar Mahale got out to rash shot on Day 2, the skipper — Mokhade, whose presence was important in the middle, chose a wrong ball to play an on-the-rise drive on Day 3.
Vidarbha resumed the day at 94/3. They lost three key batsmen — Mokhade (34 off 35b), Sandesh Drugwar (17 off 43b) and Prerit Agrawal (0) — in the span of 38 runs.
The batting-up line was back in the hut with Vidarbha still trailing by five runs. It looked like Baroda would seal it with ease.
However, the new man Dubey, who had won many matches on his own, stunned the visiting Baroda with his onslaught.
Dubey, who finished the tournament with 512 runs and most wickets (58), had a 93-run partnership with Dosi, who led by example. Dosi held his end firm when most of the batsmen got out playing big shots.
The Dubey-Dosi stand ignited Vidarbha hopes. The way Dosi was stealing singles and Dubey was striking boundaries, Baroda were pushed on the back-foot. But a mistake from Dosi dashed Vidarbha’s chances of setting a 150-run target. The way the pitch was assisting spinners, a target of anything around 150 would not have been easy to chase for Baroda.
In the 60th over, Dosi creamed a ball to cover region and ran for a quick run without calling. Dubey, on the other end, did not even move as there was no room for any risk. Baroda’s fielder Lakshyajeet P threw a perfect throw to run Dosi out and took Baroda an inch closer to title win. Once Manan got out at the score of 225, Vidarbha were skittled out for 248.
Vidarbha 218 & (overnight 94/3) 248 all out in 67.4 overs (Harsh Dubey 65, Manan Dosi 52, Aman Mokhade 34, Avesh Sheikh 33, Mohd Faiz 20; Archan Kothari 4/45, Malhar Ghevaria 2/69, Parikshit Patidar 2/51, Mahesh Pithiya 1/52) lost to Baroda 355 & 112 for 7 in 30.3 overs (Lakshyajeet P 31, Parikshit Patidar 17, Atharv Karulkar 15, Shashwat Rawat 15, Ashutosh Das 15; Harsh Dubey 4/39, Rohit Dattatraya 3/44) by 3 wickets.