There was not much action for two balls after Delhi captain Yash Dhull won the toss and opted to bat at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium Ground C in Rajkot. Having been recalled to the Indian Test squad, Unadkat had missed the start of the Ranji Trophy season. Now back as captain and spearhead, he was always going to be the main threat.
It took Unadkat three balls to bowl Dhruv Shorey. With the fourth, he had Vaibhav Rawal caught behind. With the fifth he trapped Dhull leg-before to become the third Saurashtra bowler to complete a hat-trick, after Shah Nyalchand (against Baroda, 1961/62) and Siddharth Trivedi (against Punjab, 2011/12).
This was also the seventh hat-trick against Delhi, and the first since Rajneesh Gurbani of Vidarbha in the 2017/18 Ranji Trophy final. Shorey, Unadkat’s first victim of the day, was Gurbani’s third.
Jonty Sidhu walked out and hit the first ball he faced for four. Then, at the other end, Chirag Jani chipped in too (or played ‘spoilsport’, depending on your point of view) by having Ayush Badoni caught by Joy Gohil. In nine balls, Delhi were reeling at 4-4. Lalit Yadav survived the rest of the over.
It took Unadkat three balls to strike again. This time he had Sidhu caught-behind, and Delhi were 4-5. Wicketkeeper Lakshay Thareja got off the strike first ball. Two balls later, Unadkat trapped Lalit leg-before. Delhi were 5-6 (not 6-5), and Unadkat’s figures read a scarcely believable 2-0-5-5.
Unadkat soon trapped Thareja leg-before (he did not add to his single) as well, and Delhi were 10-7, but Pranshu Vijayran and Hrithik Shokeen helped Delhi ‘recover’ to some extent. At the time of writing, Vijayran was 10, Shokeen 11, and Delhi 31-7. Unadkat’s figures read 5-0-12-6 and Jani’s 5-2-14-1.