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ADMIN posted a blog entry in FDF Online NewsWinning a title is not easy. It surely takes a lot to outwit the rivals and eventually rise to the top before claiming the top honours. But, then comes the hard part - defending the title. The history of successful title defences in the Premier League highlights how tough it is for a club to defend their crown. But, every now and then, there comes a bunch of spirited players who combine to aid their team in the elusive title defence, making them a cut above the rest. That was the story of Vidarbha cricket team in the Ranji Trophy this season. Having won their first-ever Ranji Trophy title in the 2017-18 season, Vidarbha, unlike some of the best sides in the tournament, embarked on what turned out to be a commendable campaign this season. The Faiz Fazal-led side faced a stern test when they booked a date with Saurashtra in the tournament's final. But, staying true to their character, the defending champions edged-past Saurashtra to secure a 78-run win and, in the process, claimed their second Ranji Trophy title. © Twitter Every title defence needs heroes, and the man who stepped up for Vidarbha was undoubtedly Aditya Sarwate whose sensational figures of 11-157 and a 49-run knock in the second innings ensured Saurashtra suffered their third heartbreak in the final in the last seven Ranji Trophy seasons. Bowled out for 312 runs in the first innings, Vidarbha were aided by their spin-bowling duo of Sarwate and Akshay Wakhare. While Sarwate clinched a five-for at the expense of 98 runs, Wakhare, too, contributed towards his team's cause with figures of 4-80. As the two spinners spun a web around the opposition batsmen, Saurashtra were eventually bundled out for 307 runs in the first innings. Taking a slender five-run lead, Vidarbha ran into all sorts of trouble in the second innings. Riding on the heroics of Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (6-96), the Saurashtra bowling unit did their side a huge favour by bowling their opponents out for just 200 runs. Saurashtra would've fancied their chances after being given a 206-run target, but Sarwate had other plans. Congrats Vidarbha on retaining the Ranji Trophy. One win may be construed an aberration, two in a row is sign of prowess ðð — Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) February 7, 2019 Vidarbha's left-arm spinner struck early on and sent Snell Patel packing at just 12 runs. Then, Sarwate dismissed Harvik Desai (8) before trapping big fish Cheteshwar Pujara (0) in front of the stumps to claim two scalps in one over. Later, the likes of Kamlesh Makvana, Vishvaraj Jadeja and Jaydev Unadkat also became the victims of Sarwate's spin wizardry. As Sarwate claimed six wickets in the second innings, Saurashtra were capitulated for a mere 127 runs, losing the contest and a chance to improve on their history in the finals. For a man who had never claimed a 10-wicket haul, Sarwate couldn't have claimed the feat on a better day or occasion than the Ranji Trophy final. © Twitter Apart from putting his best foot forward in the all-important final, Sarwate has been a vital cog for Vidarbha throughout their commendable season. The 29-year-old finished the tournament with a staggering 55 wickets in 11 matches, including best figures of 11-157 that came in the final. He also boasts of six fifers and a 10-wicket haul, alongside an impressive economy rate of under three runs. Well done Vidarbha! What a success story this has been...Vidarbha cricket. ðððððð#RanjiTrophy — Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 7, 2019 If anyone saw the final, they'd agree that the contest was pretty close with both the teams fighting their way back at several points in the match. But, in the end, it was Sarwate - the 'Player of the Match' - who spun a web around Saurashtra's batting line-up to make Vidarbha only the sixth team in history to successfully defend a Ranji Trophy title.