Vidarbha 312 (Karnewar 73*, Unadkat 3-54) and 200 (Sarwate 49, Dharmendrasinh 6-96) beat Saurashtra 307 (Patel 102, Sarwate 5-98) and 127 (Vishvaraj 52, Sarwate 6-59) by 78 runs
Vishwaraj Jadeja was frozen, in despair perhaps, or disbelief even. He had gone down to sweep Aditya Sarwate but the ball was too full and dipped on him - too much to make contact with the bat. Just in line with the stumps, and straight enough to make the umpire's finger go up. The chaps at Madame Tussaud's would have taken him as he was, no questions asked.
Eventually, Vishwaraj dragged - and never has a verb been more apt - himself across the ground. At the boundary where he kicked the turf in frustration in the first sign of animation he had shown, he had to pass by the trophy that Saurashtra and Vidarbha fought so splendidly for. He didn't give it even a look, an image that summed up how the day had gone for both teams.
Vishwaraj had made 52, but with his departure went Saurashtra's last smouldering hopes of a miraculous win in the Ranji Trophy. His fall meant Sarwate had his first ever ten-wicket haul in a match, and he had chosen the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 final for his best show.
Saurashtra fought till the end, coming back at several points in the match when Vidarbha had seemed to run away with it, but eventually couldn't stop Vidarbha from becoming only the sixth team in history to successfully defend a Ranji Trophy title.
Fittingly, the catch that signalled victory went to Sarwate as Saurashtra were bowled out for 127, losing by 78 runs. Sarwate had taken 11 for 157 in the match, and contributed 49 in the second innings. His season brought 354 runs at 29.50 and 55 wickets at 19.67, but it was a complete team effort from Vidarbha.
For Saurashtra, it was a third heartbreak in the final in the last seven seasons, though the loss was the closest it has been. They had lost to Mumbai in Mumbai in 2012-13 and then in Pune in 2015-16.
The day began with Saurashtra 58 for 5, and needing yet another stirring effort from the tail to get to their target of 206. Vishwaraj was the only top-order batsman left, but he found good support from Kamlesh Makvana, and then Dharmendrasinh Jadeja. It was not enough to induce doubts in Vidarbha, but both teams would have had memories of their first innings fresh - when the last three wickets added more than a 100 runs for each side.
Before an hour into the day's play though, Sarwate struck. Makvana stretched forward and thought he had his stumps covered, expecting the ball to break away. Instead, it held its line and went on straight, clipping the bails. In the next over, Akshay Wakhare rapped Prerak Mankad on the pads with the batsman not offering a shot.
Vishwaraj and Dharmendrasinh resisted for a while, raising distant hopes of a twin-Jadeja inspired comeback even though Ravindra was absent - but Sarwate ended that dream.
Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya had done a splendid job for Saurashtra with the bat in the first innings, but they were walking into a very different situation now. The pitch was two days older, and the ball hadn't yet gone soft, while Vidarbha had the scent of victory.
Shortly before lunch, Dharmendrasinh swept Wakhare in the air, and Sarwate completed the catch at midwicket to signal that the title was Vidarbha's.