On Tuesday, January 3, at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium Ground C, left-arm bowler Jaydev Unadkat made a thrilling return to the Ranji Trophy as the captain of Saurashtra smashed through Delhi’s top-order. Delhi won the toss and decided to bat, and Jaydev Unadkat took three wickets in the opening over of the game.
At 5 for 6, Delhi was in trouble when Jaydev Unadkat finished his 21st five-wicket haul in the very first over of the game. Unadkat claimed six wickets in the opening hour of play, reducing Delhi to 10 for 7 runs.
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Unadkat’s domination left Delhi, who are missing a lot of their first-XI cricketers due to injuries, in the dust. After the visitors decided to bat, the left-arm pacer dismissed the in-form Delhi batsman and current season’s leading scorer, Dhruv Shorey, in the third delivery of the game.
As Unadkat completed his hat-trick, Vaibhav Rawal and Delhi skipper Yash Dhull were sent packing for golden ducks. Dhull was caught directly in front of the wickets while Rawa edged one to wicketkeeper Harvik Desai. The previous fastest Ranji Trophy hat trick was achieved by Vinay Kumar of Karnataka, who did it between the first and third over.
Unadkat hadn’t finished. The veteran of 97 first-class matches struck again in his subsequent over to finish a five-wicket haul—the 21st of his illustrious first-class career—in his second over after bowling a magical first over that left Delhi shell-shocked. His victims in this over were rookie Lakshay Thareja (1) and Jonty Sidhu (4).
It was a stunning return to domestic cricket for Jaydev Unadakt:
There was no relief for Delhi from the other end during Unadkat’s mayhem as Chirag Jani removed debutant Ayush Badoni for a three-ball duck. After three overs, Delhi had been reduced to 5/6.
The lone wicketless over of the entire game came in Jani’s second over, and it remained that way at least until Unadkat got rid of Lalit Yadav in his third over. Delhi only scored 10 runs while losing 7 wickets. Up to five of their top six batters were dismissed for a duck, and four of them were victimized by Unadkat.
Fortunately, Pranshu Vijayran and Hrithik Shokeen handled the decline and prevented Delhi from embarrassingly recording the lowest total in the Ranji Trophy—21 by Hyderabad against Rajasthan in 2010–11—by addressing the slump.