Jaydev Unadkat
Unadkat took wickets off the third, fourth and fifth deliveries to achieve the distinction of becoming the only player to take a first-over hat-trick in Ranji Trophy's 88-year-old history. Photo: PTI

Jaydev Unadkat snares first-over Ranji Trophy hat-trick, makes history

Jaydev Unadkat, fresh from his sterling bowling performance in the second Test against Bangladesh at Mirpur, returned to the Ranji grind and made a terrific impact, snaring a hat-trick in the first over to leave Group B rivals Delhi in disarray on Tuesday.

Delhi, who lost 7 wickets for just 10 runs, didn’t face the ignominy of a lowest first-class score of 6 by a team called ‘The B’s’ against England in an official match held in 1810.

Courtesy young Hrithik Shokeen (68), they finally managed 133 before Saurashtra scored 184 in just 46 overs as the visitors decided to play with two specialist bowlers.

Unadkat took wickets off the third, fourth and fifth deliveries to achieve the distinction of becoming the only player to take a first-over hat-trick in Ranji Trophy’s 88-year-old history.

The previous quickest Ranji hat-trick, a split one, is in the name of Karnataka’s Vinay Kumar who achieved the feat over two overs — first and third.

Unadkat’s hat-trick victims included opener Dhruv Shorey, Vaibhav Rawal and young Delhi captain Yash Dhull, all of whom departed for ducks.

Sources close to the Delhi team management in fact were wondering as to why on a pitch that had moisture, a rookie like Ayush Badoni was sent to open on his debut.

Badoni, Rawal and even Dhull don’t have the wherewithal to face Unadkat on a lightly damp wicket and they had no clue which one was leaving them, which one came back in and the trademark one which skids straight after pitching.

And by the time he was done with his second over, the 31-year-old Unadkat had added two more scalps to accomplish his 21st five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.

Unadkat’s continued to wreak havoc, finishing with career-best figures of 8/39 in his 12 overs on Tuesday.

Delhi, missing quite a few regular bowlers in their playing XI due to injuries, found themselves staring at an uphill task after being bundled out for 133. Their toothless attack was laid bare by Saurashtra opener Harvik Desai, whose unbeaten 104 off just 124 deliveries had guided the hosts to 184 for 1 — a 51-run lead — at stumps.

Earlier, Unadkat, whose India career got a fresh lease of life almost 12 years after he played his opening Test, pulverised the Delhi batting, reducing them to five for six wickets in his opening two overs.

He accounted for Jonty Sindh (4) and Lalit Yadav (4) in his second — and the team’s third — over with Delhi staring at one of the worst batting display in recent years.

But late-order batter Hrithik Shokeen (68 not out) and Shivank Vashisht (38) took the score past 100.

Later, Saurashtra batter Harvik Desai traded in boundaries, smashing 15 fours as the home team raced to 184 in no time, with Jay Gohil’s wicket being the only success the visitors had on day one.

Brief scores: At Rajkot: Delhi 133 in 35 overs (Hrithik Shokeen 68 n.o., Shivank Vashisht 38; Jaydev Unadkat 8/39) versus Saurashstra 184 for 1 in 46 overs (Harvik Desai 104 n.o., Chirag Jani 44 n.o.).

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