Parthiv Patel was the highest run-getter for Gujarat with his 90-run knock
Parthiv Patel was the highest run-getter for Gujarat with his 90-run knock AFP

After dominating the first day s play, where they bowled Mumbai out for 228 in the Ranji Trophy 2016-17 final being played at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, Gujarat had another good day in office when their middle-order played well after early setbacks to help the side gain vital first-innings lead. Gujarat ended Day Two on 291 for 6 with a lead of 63 runs. They still have 4 wickets in hand, and are in with a good chance to get a healthy first-innings lead to put pressure on Mumbai in the summit clash. With another good day going his side s way, Gujarat coach Vijay Patel was understandably a happy man.

Vijay praised the middle-order, especially the Parthiv Patel-Manprit Juneja stand for coming good after the openers fell early. It was an important partnership, he said, before adding, At one stage, it was 37 for 2, they were bowling well. At that stage, even Bhargav (Merai) played well. At the time of crisis, he played that innings, a brilliant innings (of 45). Unfortunately he got out. Then Manprit and Parthiv definitely took the initiative away from the Mumbai side. He backed his lower-order, which has scored runs throughout this season, to add more runs to the lead on Day Three. Let s see tomorrow, we are still only 6 wickets down. There is still a long way to go. We know the capabilities of our batsmen, our lower order has always got many runs for us. We have even won matches on the scores of the lower order. It will be interesting tomorrow morning.

Live Cricket Score Mumbai vs Gujarat, Ranji Trophy 2016-17 Final

Gujarat may have seized control in the match, but the day did not quite begin on a good not for them. Their openers Samit Gohil and Priyank Panchal got the team off to a snail-slow start, hardly getting any runs in the first 10 overs or so. Vijay defended the openers, who had been in a superb form all through the season by saying, In the morning, because of the cold and because there is a bit of moisture in the wicket, the ball was moving around. So they played cautiously but unfortunately they got out to the moving ball. But if you look at both the days, once the wicket eases out after lunch-time, then you get runs easily. Today also, we got 130 runs in that session, so it was a good session for us.

The Gujarat coach had reserved special praises for his captain Parthiv as well as Manprit. Parthiv s was a brilliant innings. If you look at the major tournaments across formats in last one year T20 final, One-Day final, Deodhar Trophy in all the finals Parthiv has got big runs. It was unfortunate he lost out on a hundred today. He has been with the team for so many years and has a big influence on the side. He is working hard and helping the boys develop, the results of which are for everyone to see .

Talking about Manprit, the Gujarat coach said, Around two years back, he had played for India A and got a lot of runs. He was on the verge of playing for India, that s what we were told, but he then unfortunately had a bad run. But we know his capabilities, so we kept him in the team. In one season, he got only 100 runs in 8 matches but we had faith in him and we are being proven right now. I hope he plays for India, India A, whatever.

This Gujarat side is a closely-knit group, and hence it did not come as a surprise when team s star all-rounder Akshar Patel, who has been out from the squad due to an injury he sustained while fielding as a substitute during the Chennai Test against England last month, joined the squad to cheer them up for the final. He is a part of our team, he wanted to be with the team during the final, said Vijay. Yesterday he was in Mumbai for a check-up, the doctor gave him the go-ahead to join the team. His presence will be helpful to the boys also, his advice will be helpful to the spinners in the side, so we made him join the team.

Another important member of the squad, Jasprit Bumrah has been away on national duty. But he is also keeping an eye on the match. Jasprit is also watching the match, He is always there on WhatsApp. But unfortunately, he can t be here because of the ODIs. After all, he has come up playing for Gujarat and Gujarat are playing the final after 66 years. He was upset when he came to know that he won t be playing the final but then he cannot be with the team because he has joined the camp in Pune. But we know he is with us in spirit, the coach said.