Armed with a newfound self-belief and zest to go the extra mile, Vidarbha scripted a new chapter in the region's cricket history by winning their maiden Ranji Trophy, comfortably defeating Delhi by nine wickets in the final here today.
Vidarbha were set a target of 29 runs to clinch their title after asking Delhi to bat and bowling them out for 295, Vidarbha put on a mammoth 547 on the board in their first innings thanks to a century by Akshay Wadkar. Delhi were in danger of a innings loss as they were reduced to 234/8. However, tail-enders Vikas Mishra and Akshay Sudan saved them from an innings defeat ensuring a 28-run lead for Delhi in the second innings.
Wasim Jaffer, who won his ninth Ranji Trophy title (his first eight have come with Mumbai) to maintain his record of winning every final he had played in, hit the winning runs.
Overnight Vidarbha were 528 for seven with wicketkeeper Wadkar unbeaten on 133, but Delhi quickly picked up the remaining three wickets in the morning.
Young pacer Navdeep Saini was the most successful bowler for Delhi, returning figures of 5 for 135 after bowling a marathon 36.3 overs.
Delhi were a bowler short through the Vidarbha first innings as left-arm spinner Manan Sharma remained off the field due to a knee injury. Manan, though, batted in the second innings.
In their second innings, Delhi were all out for 280 with Shorey scoring another half-century - a 142-ball 62 - while Nitish Rana struck 64.
Vidarbha chased down the 29-run target with a day to spare at the Holkar Stadium, which hosted the title clash of the tournament for the second successive time.
Trailing by 252 runs, Delhi lost opener Kunal Chandela with just 32 runs on the board. And a bigger blow was dealt on the seven-time winners when their most experienced campaigner, Gautam Gambhir, in what looked like a debatable decision, was adjudged out lbw off Gurbani to a ball that seemed to be heading down the leg side.
The out-of-favour India opener looked in good touch during his quick 36 off 37 balls (32 coming in boundaries), and could have helped Delhi's cause had he stayed longer.
First-innings centurion Shorey and Rana then added 114 runs for the third wicket.
The second session saw Shorey and Rana playing freely, hitting some lovely drives and flicks. However, as the team score reached 164, Delhi lost Shorey, who was given a reprieve by Wasim Jaffer in first slip, to the left-arm spin of Aditya Sarwate.
Rana followed suit as he nicked the impressive Gurbani to Wadkar behind the stumps. Like in the first innings, Gurbani was again bowling his heart out and swung the new ball to good effect.
Himmat Singh, who had a fifty in the first essay, was bowled by off-spinner Akshay Wakhare before he could open his account.
And then came a reckless shot by skipper Rishabh Pant (32), an attempted heave off Siddhesh Neral leading to his dismissal as Delhi ran out of batting options. This was an over after Pant was let off by Wadkar, who missed an easy stumping chance.
Last year, it was Gujarat who their maiden title and now Vidarbha have continued that trend by becoming the champion for the first time in competitions history.