Parthiv Patel scored half-century on Day 5    IANS
Parthiv Patel scored half-century on Day 5 IANS

Indore: Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel and team s senior batsman Manprit Juneja kept the hopes of their maiden title win alive on the final day of the Ranji Trophy 2016-17 final, being played at the Holkar Stadium against Mumbai, here in Indore. At lunch on Day Five, Gujarat were 146 for 3 with Parthiv (53*) and Juneja (29*) in the middle of an important unbroken 57-run stand for the fourth wicket. Gujarat need another 166 runs to win the 83rd edition of the premier domestic tournament with two more sessions play left in the day. Parthiv, who completed 57th First-Class fifty of his career and second of the match, holds the key for his team Gujarat now.

Starting the day from the overnight score of 47 without loss, Gujarat had and early blow to their innings, when prolific opener Priyank Panchal fell without adding a single run this morning. His 34-run knock ended when he was caught by Suryakumar Yadav in the second slip off Balwinder Sandhu s bowling. Panchal though failed to go past VVS Laxman s record of most runs in a Ranji Trophy season, but overall had a terrific season this year, where he also became Gujarat s first ever triple centurion.

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He was replaced by Bhargav Merai, who too had a short stay at the wicket. Merai fell to a delivery which came back in sharply. Sandhu, who had been consistently moving the ball away from the batsmen, deserved full marks for this wicket as he outfoxed Merai with the inswinger. Samit Gohil, who too has had a stellar season this year, got an early reprieve when Parthiv Shaw dropped him in the first slip, yet again. Shaw had earlier dropped Gohil on the first ball of their first innings.

Gohil then played the anchor s role and added 38 runs with Parthiv for the third wicket to lend some solidity to the innings. But just when he looked set for a good score, his resistance was ended by veteran player Abhishek Nayar. He was given out caught behind by the umpire when the TV replays suggested otherwise. Unlucky to be dismissed that way in the most important game of his career thus-far, Gohil scored 21.

With things looking difficult, Gujarat once again looked up to their two most senior batsmen Parthiv and Juneja. The two had bailed out their side in the first innings as well, adding crucial 120 runs for the fourth wicket and playing major role in securing first innings lead. They continued from where they had left in the first innings.

Parthiv, being the skipper as well as team s most important batsman, had to absorb the pressure and he did exceedingly well. He played with a balanced approach, defending as well as attacking as per the need, and brought in his fifty. Juneja, on the other hand, continued extended his purple patch, getting to an unbeaten 29 at lunch. He had earlier scored 81 in the semi-final against Jharkhand and 77 in the first innings of the match. Parthiv too had got 90 in the first innings. Gujarat will now need a similar performance from these two in the final innings.

Mumbai seamers bowled well upfront. But the team is clearly one pacer short in this match. The onus now rests on Shardul, Sandhu and the workhorse Nayar, who will have to bring in all his experience to the table to help Mumbai win their 42nd title.

Brief scores:

Mumbai 228 and 411 (Abhishek Nayar 91, Shreyas Iyer 82, Aditya Tare 69; Chintan Gaja 6 for 121, RP Singh 2 for 83) lead Gujarat 328 and 146 for 3 (Parthiv Patel 53*, Priyank Panchal 34; Balwinder Sandhu 2 for 63, Abhishek Nayar 1 for 15) by 165 runs.