RP Singh led the Gujarat bowlers to do exceptionally well against Mumbai © Getty Images
RP Singh led the Gujarat bowlers to do exceptionally well against Mumbai © Getty Images

 

Indore: Gujarat dominated Day One of the Ranji Trophy 2016-17 final here in Indore as Mumbai folded up on 228 runs in their first innings here at Holkar Stadium, Indore. Barring a dropped catch, Gujarat had a brilliant day on the field as their bowlers, and fielders, restricted Mumbai to a modest total. Fifties from young opener Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav were the only bright spots in the innings of the defending champions. For Gujarat, it was a collective effort that earned them the wickets: RP Singh, Chintan Gaja and Rujul Bhatt picked up 2 wickets each, Rush Kalaria and Hardik Patel got one apiece, while two Mumbai batsmen were run out.

In reply, Gujarat ended the day on 2 without any loss, albeit not without drama. Samit Gohel survived when a simple catch being offered by him on the first ball of the innings was put down by Shaw at first slip. Gohel and Priyank Panchal, Gujarat’s prolific openers, were unbeaten at the close of play. Both men have played crucial roles in Gujarat’s success this season. With 1,270 runs, Panchal is the leading run-scorer in this year’s edition of Ranji Trophy (he is 281 ahead of the next man on the list), while Gohil is sixth on the list, with 891.

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Earlier, Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel won the toss on a chilly Indore morning and opted to field first — a decision which raised quite a few eyebrows. After all, he had decided to bat last on a red-soil pitch that is likely to assist spin and bounce as the match will progress, and will batting difficult on the final day. However, there was some rationale to his decision, as there was moisture in the wicket early on and the skipper expected his bowlers to exploit the same. Parthiv’s bowlers backed his decision by not disappointing him, as RP quickly removed fit-again opener Akhil Herwadkar, who had replaced Praful Waghela in the playing XI for the final.

RP, a revelation of late, trapped Herwadkar in front of the stumps with the score reading 13. Shreyas Iyer, a prolific scorer for some time now, walked out to join Shaw, the prodigious talent and hero of the semi-final. Iyer added 41 runs for the second wicket before he fell to Chintan Gaja. Iyer, who had looked good till then, came down the wicket to chase a wide delivery and ended up edging it straight into the ’keeper’s hands.

Shaw kept going on the other end. His knock of 71 runs was laced with 11 fluent hits to the fence. He added 52 runs with Yadav — the only fifty-run stand of the day — for the third wicket. But a freakish run out ended his innings just when it seemed he would convert his innings into his second consecutive hundred. Skipper Aditya Tare, who has time and again steadied the Mumbai ship, fell cheaply to Hardik.

This brought Yadav and Siddhesh Lad together. Mumbai fans must have hoped for an encore of numerous crucial partnerships, where they have bailed out their side. However, it was not meant to be today. The two did stitch a 41-run partnership but failed to capitalise on the start. Yadav was the first to go when a half-hearted shot landed straight into the hands of Hardik Patel at mid-off. Lad soon followed him to the pavilion when he became victim of a poor umpiring decision. He was given caught-behind just at the stroke of tea to a rising delivery from RP even as he failed to get any bat to it.

The last session witnessed a Mumbai collapse as last 4 wickets fell for 49 runs. Rujul dismissed Balwinder Sandhu and Shardul Thakur in the space of 4 balls, while Vishal Dabholkar fell short of a throw from Panchal. Abhishek Nayar, who stuck around for a while and added 35 runs, was the last wicket to fall, top-edging a hook off Kalaria.

Mumbai 228 (Prithvi Shaw 71, Suryakumar Yadav 57; Rujul Bhatt 2 for 5, Chintan Gaja 2 for 46, RP Singh 2 for 48) lead Gujarat 2 without loss (Samit Gohel 2*, Priyank Panchal 0*) by 226 runs.