It was a hard-fought win as Gujarat battled it out with defending champions Mumbai over five days in Indore to lift the Ranji Trophy for the first time.
While Parthiv Patel scored 143, he was ably supported by Manprit Juneja (54) after they were on 89 for three in the first session to chase down the 312 runs on the last day. Earlier in the game, the duo had forged a 120-run stand that helped secure a first innings lead. While Parthiv made 90 in the first innings, Juneja had scored 77.
Discussing the two crucial partnerships, Juneja explained, “Both of us are pretty aggressive in our batting ways. Today (Day 5) when I went in to bat, I was pretty clear in my mind, (that) we don’t want to defend the day out. We want to chase it and we discussed about it. We just wanted to go after the bowling because that was the only way we could get rid of the pressure. Once the boundaries started flowing, the momentum shifted on our side.”
While his second innings didn’t have nervous moments, Juneja was dropped on 15 by Shreyas Iyer in the first. Asked what he told himself after getting a life that enabled him to build the innings from there on, the batsman said, “When I got that dropped chance, I felt that I should be a little more cautious and then start attacking.”
Speaking about contributing to a winning cause of this magnitude he said, “It feels great. The only thing that I have always been thinking of while playing for Gujarat is that I want to help Gujarat become Ranji Trophy champions. I am so happy that I have been part of this brilliant side in winning all the championships that we have till now – the Syed Mushatq Ali Trophy (T20), the Vijay Hazare Trophy (one-day) and now the Ranji Trophy. It feels great to have contributed on such an important day. This is what we worked hard for the entire year.”
The youngster’s contribution was lauded by team coach, Vijay Patel as well. “Manprit rose to the occasion. Even in the earlier matches when it mattered, he knew how to handle the pressure and he did it for Gujarat today as well.
“All the players knew the importance of the match. If we win, we were going to make history. So, they were also very enthusiastic,” he added.
He also applauded captain Parthiv’s role. “Parthiv is one of our senior players in the side. Axar (Patel) and Jasprit (Bumrah) were not available so he had more responsibility on his shoulders. I must say that he led from the front,” Patel mentioned.
Asked, what was his advise to the batsmen ahead of the final day, the coach stated, “We trusted our batting ability. Our top six batsmen are in good form. And the way it started yesterday (on Day 4), Priyank (Panchal) and Samit (Patel) got us 47 runs without a loss of wickets until stumps. We knew this wicket was a true wicket. Normally the red soil wicket breaks after the fourth day and it is difficult to bat on the the fifth day, but this was a brilliant wicket. We had a good start. We spoke that even if we lose one or two wickets, we will not panic because we know the capabilities of our batsmen.
“It’s an exciting moment for us. Gujarat has created history. We the reached final (before) but this is the first victory so obviously we are very proud,” he concluded.