MUMBAI, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Captain Parthiv Patel hit an attacking 143 on the final day to lead Gujarat to a maiden Ranji Trophy title with a five-wicket victory over heavyweights Mumbai in Indore on Saturday.
The diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman also top-scored for his side with 90 in the first innings, giving Gujarat a crucial 100-run lead after Mumbai were restricted to 228 in the title match for India’s domestic first-class championship.
Mumbai, who were aiming to claim a 42nd title, improved in the second innings and set their opponents a winning target of 312, leaving Gujarat needing to complete the highest final run chase in tournament history to claim the title.
Resuming on 47 without loss, Gujarat, who had only featured in one previous Ranji Trophy final back in 1951 in the same city, were reduced to 89-3 before Patel and Manprit Juneja (54) revived the chase with a fourth-wicket stand of 116.
The 31-year-old, who hit some streaky boundaries at the start of his knock, added 94 with Rujul Bhatt for the next wicket to take Gujarat within striking distance of victory before he was out, caught and bowled by paceman Shardul Thakur.
For their part, Mumbai were left to rue a number of dropped catches during the match as well as their poor display with the bat in the first innings.
”It was a dream we collectively saw before the season started,“ Patel said during the presentation. ”So happy we have been able to achieve a Ranji Trophy victory.
“I was taking my chances because, while chasing 312, I thought somebody has to play attacking shots. I am glad whatever chances I took they all came off.”
The last few months have been very successful for the baby-faced Patel, who became cricket’s youngest test wicketkeeper when he made his debut as a 17-year-old against England in 2002.
He ended his test side exile after more than eight years in November when he was recalled for the last three matches against a touring England, replacing injured regular Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps.
He was impressive with the bat upon his recall, scoring two half-centuries as India won the five-match series 4-0. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O‘Brien)