DEFENDING champions Vidarbha started their campaign with a thumping innings and 12 runs win over Punjab in their Cooch Behar Trophy match at VCA’s Kalamna ground on Monday. On fourth and last day of the match, Punjab needed 19 more runs to make Vidarbha bat again with two wickets in hand. But the tailenders could add only seven runs in 3.4 overs giving the hosts a win with bonus point in their Elite Group A. Vidarbha’s new-ball pair of Pratham Maheshwari (24-7-44-5) and Arjun Ingle (19.4-3-59-5), who had picked four wickets each by end of the third day, completed their respective five-wicket hauls. Maheshwari ended the match with eight wickets.
Starting the day at 198-8, Arjun Rajput (35) failed to add any to his overnight score and was out lbw to Maheshwari on fourth ball of the morning. Exactly three overs later, Ingle caught Sameer (19) off his own bowling for a convincing win. Chandigarh and Mumbai also recorded huge wins and take the top two positions above Vidarbha who are third. All the three teams have seven points with quotient separating them. Vidarbha take on minnows Tripura in their next match to be played at Civil Lines ground from November 24-27. The hosts will must ensure big wins against weaker opponents to improve their quotient that might come into picture at later stage in the tournament. Brief scores: Vidarbha 377. Punjab 160 and 205 all out in 71.4 overs (R Kumar 49, Arjun Rajput 35; P Maheshwari 5-44, Arjun Ingle 5-59).