Gujarat won the Ranji Trophy for the first time. Picture Courtesy: Chinmay Jawalekar
Gujarat won the Ranji Trophy for the first time. Picture Courtesy: Chinmay Jawalekar

Indore: Parthiv Patel-led Gujarat created history at the Holkar Stadium here in Indore in front of a crowd which their coach Vijay Patel called apt for the final . The team, which had made it to the final of the tournament only for the second time in their history, went the distance this time around after their skipper Parthiv s tremendous performance with the bat. Parthiv scored 90 and 143 in the final, thus setting up a brilliant 5-wicket win over the reigning champions Mumbai. Apart from him, the heroes of their victory were Manprit Juneja (77 and 54) and young pacer Chintan Gaja (8 wickets in the match).

On first day of the match, Parthiv had won the toss and invited Mumbai to bat first. It was a decision which many doubted, considering batting last in the game could pose Gujarat a threat. However, the team chased down the target of 312 set by Mumbai in an emphatic fashion, thus also creating a record of gunning down the highest ever target in the history of the tournament. Their bowlers too did a good job, justifying the decision of their captain to bowl first by bundling Mumbai out for 228 on Day One.

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There was no standout performer in the bowling department. But the entire attack, led by veteran seamer RP Singh, bowled in tandem to restrict Mumbai to a modest total.

When Gujarat came out to bat, all eyes were on their prolific openers Priyank Panchal and Samit Gohil, who had scored runs all throughout the season. But the two did not get runs in the first innings. It was the partnership between Parthiv and Juneja that resurrected the innings and helped Gujarat take a vital 100-run lead. These two came together once again in the second innings, to stitch their second 100-plus-run stand in the game and guide their side home.

Mumbai, who had to hunt down the lead first and then set a commanding target, did a fantastic job in the second innings by posting 411. Abhishek Nayar (91), Shreyas Iyer (82), Aditya Tare (69), Suryakumar Yadav (49) and Prithvi Shaw with a whirlwind knock of 44 were amongst the runs. Chintan Gaja, who was brought in for Jasprit Bumrah, made an impact with his first five-for.

Needing 312 to win their maiden Ranji title, Gujarat ended Day Four on 47 without loss, with 265 more to get on the final day.

The final day then belonged to Parthiv. The domestic cricket veteran, who made a comeback to the Indian Test team this season, rode on his luck as plenty of inside edges from his willow missed the stumps. Making most of the luck shining on him, Parthiv hammered his 25th First-Class hundred. By the time he got out, only the formalities were required to be done which were taken care of by Gujarat batsmen.

There were plenty of talking points about the match. Gujarat bowlers adopted a defensive bowling strategy on the third day when Iyer and Suryakumar were batting. They later called the Mumbai batsmen being defensive instead. The umpiring standard in the match was disappointing as well. There were controversial no-balls being given / denied as a legitimate delivery during a couple of dismissals. A few catches that were taken behind the wickets were not wickets either, with the batsman missing the edge by a fair margin.

Then there was the final day controversy, when the players were involved in a bit of banter. Juneja had a few things to say to the umpire about Mumbai players. Tare, in return, gave an ugly send-off to Juneja when he was dismissed.

The quality of cricket was befitting for a finale and so was the wicket at the Holkar Stadium. It had life throughout the game, with both bowlers as well as the batsmen getting assistance. There was decent bounce and carry and at the same time, stroke making was easier as well with the ball coming on to the bat nicely.

The same city, where Gujarat lost their first final against the local side Holkar, became witness to their first Ranji Trophy win.

Brief scores:

Mumbai 228 and 411 lost to Gujarat 328 and 313 for 5 (Parthiv Patel 143, Manprit Juneja 54; Balwinder Sandhu 2 for 101, Akhil Herwadkar 1 for 17) by 5 wickets.

Man of the Match: Parthiv Patel