Gujarat played calculative cricket and annexed Ranji Trophy for the first time. However, Gujarat is the first team to win all the BCCI domestic tournaments in recent times. They have won Syed Mushtaq Ali T 20 Trophy (2012-13 and 2014-5), Vijay Hazare Trophy 2015-16 and now Rani Trophy. Mumbai played with complacency and lost the game on the first day of the five day game. A score of 228 was not a good one on a placid wicket at Indore and Mumbai played into the hands of Gujarat. Gujarat did made an impact by achieving a first innings lead of 100 thanks to the bright batting of Parthiv Patel and M. Juneja. They were the fulcrum round which Mumbai batting was revolving around and kept the score board ticking. Mumbai bowlers lacked penetration and they were leaking runs instead of giving the side a break through. Parthiv Patel judged the pitch very well as Tare could not do so and paid heavy price for the same. To add to the woes many catches were dropped and gave the Gujarat batsmen a fresh lease of life. In all, it was a good show by Gujarat and Mumbai side muffed a good chance of retaining the Ranji Trophy.
A target of 312 runs was set by Mumbai side as the team scored 411 in the second innings with Abhishek Nayar making a breezy 91 to prop up the tail end batting. He hit five sixes in the end to make a match out of it. Chintan Gaja claimed six wickets in the second innings to hasten the end. In Panchal (1310 runs), they have an in-form player while Gohil, during his 359, had shown that he can hang around. It will be interesting to see if Gujarat employ defensive technique or go for the chase and the fifth day promises to be an intriguing one. But both failed to raise to the occasion and it was left to Parthiv Patel- Juneja pair to repair the damages and take the side to the striking distance of the target. Gujarat skipper hit 143 with 24 hits to the boundary Juneja made 54 before throwing his wicket with over 100 runs needed. R. Bhatt formed the best partnership with his skipper and Patil got out when 13 runs were required for victory he took up the challenge of making sure of a victory in Ranji Trophy final. Incidentally, it was C. Gandhi scored the winning runs. It appears that in Gujarat the name Gandhi is good for achieving something unique and the victory was achieved with five wickets remaining. It was total team work that saw Ranji Trophy was won and making it a memorable one.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)