While Saurashtra did much better in the second innings, but a total of 380 meant Rest needed only 105 runs with almost two days to go.
They knocked out the runs in just over a session and a half with Abhimanyu Easwaran remaining unbeaten at 63, while adding 81 match-winning runs for the unbroken third wicket score with keeper Kona Bharat (27 not out).
Winners are grinners! ☺️ ?Rest of India beat the spirited Saurashtra side to win the #IraniCup. ? ? #SAUvROI |… https://t.co/9Mwbro0eN5
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However, it was the young Kuldeep (5/94 in 19 overs) who quickly rounded out the Saurashtra innings in the morning when he threw one fast and full to catch Parth Bhut right up front.
Jaydev Unadkat, who played a captain’s knock of 89 to continue the fight until the fourth morning, was eventually fired when Kuldeep made a short punch and saw the batter make an extra jump, but only to find the resulting lead to keeper Bharat.
With an 8 wicket match-haul, Kuldeep showed why he is so highly regarded at the national level and will travel with the Indian team to Perth as a net bowler for the T20 World Cup.
Easwaran, who has averaged 32 in his last 20 innings, played some smooth strokes, including some great cover drives, but to be fair, these weren’t runs scored under pressure like Sarfaraz Khan did when he struck. at 18/3 in RoI’s first innings.
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It is right that Bangladeshi pacesetter Mukesh Kumar was awarded the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his spellbinding first morning spell when he took four wickets of the highest order to eject Saurashtra for 98 and literally pocket the game.
“There was some help at the beginning and we tried to get them out as quickly as possible. I’m concentrating on my line and height,” Mukesh said after the game.
His skipper Hanuma Vihari was full of praise for Sarfaraz Khan, who helped the team with a brilliant hundred on opening day.
“We were in a difficult situation with a wicket that helped the bowlers, Sarfaraz hit beautifully. The 220-run partnership (him and Sarfaraz) helped us get the momentum and we took the game away from them.”
Vihari scored a cautious 82 from 184, but was not disappointed when he missed a hundred.
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“I wanted to get to 100 because I worked hard. I hit a long time, but at the end of the day the contribution helped the team and I’m happy.”
For Saurashtra captain Unadkat, the first day’s track was very different from Rajkot and that made all the difference.
“We collapsed under the circumstances. It wasn’t a typical Rajkot wicket. We had to be in the game in that session and we couldn’t. It was about an extraordinary performance from someone who could have pulled out of that situation is not happened, but we fought to the end.
Short scores: Saurashtra 98 and 380 (Jaydev Unadkat 89, Prerak Mankad 72, Sheldon Jackson 71, Kuldeep Sen 5/98).
RoI 374 & 105/2 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 63 not out). RoI won by 8 wickets.