With a sparkling 143-run knock, Parthiv Patel helped Gujarat chase down a record 312-run target in the final to claim their maiden Ranji Trophy title.
The captain made crucial 90 runs to secure a first innings lead and followed it up with a century in the second to clinch a five-wicket win in the 2016-17 season of the prestigious tournament.
Balwinder Singh Sandhu had claimed both the openers after Gujarat had resumed their innings on 47 without loss. Priyank Panchal, who had become only the third batsman to score in excess of 1300 runs in a Ranji Trophy season, was sent back on the overnight score of 34. The medium-pacer forced an edge through to the wicket-keeper to give Mumbai an early breakthrough. He then followed up with the wicket of Bhargav Merai. 38 runs later, Abhishek Nayar accounted for Samit Gohil to keep Mumbai alive in the game.
Juneja, who joined Parthiv with the team on 89 for three, ably supported the skipper in building the Gujarat innings. While the captain gleaned runs off the Mumbai attack with ease, the middle-order batsman also impressed with some crisp strokes as they chipped away at the target. Batting at an unhurried pace, the duo kept the scoreboard ticking to seize the momentum in Gujarat’s fvaour.
However, after having done the hard yards to help Gujarat to an advantageous position, Juneja was sent back by Akhil Herwadkar on 52. The part-time bowlers drew an edge from the batsman through to Aditya Tare behind the stumps with the team on 205 for four. However, Parthiv continued to milk the bowlers from the other end. He slammed Sandhu for three boundaries in an over to inch towards his century and a couple of overs later went past the three-figure mark with two runs of Herwadkar.
While Gujarat approached their win, the Mumbai attack continued to hit the deck hard. However, misses in the field cost them dearly.
Parthiv continued to attack to Mumbai. However, with just 13 runs needed, he top-edged a Shardul Thakur short delivery and the bowler took the catch to send the batsman back. Chirag Gandhi then joined Rujul Bhatt in taking the team to the finish line. With two crisp boundaries off Thakur, the batsmen helped the team clinch their maiden title.
Day 1 - Mumbai 1st inn 228/10 in 83.5 overs (P Shaw 71, SK Yadav 57, R Bhatt 2/5, CT Gaja 2/46, RP Singh 2/48); Gujarat 1st inn 2/0 in 1 over. Trail by 22r runs
Day 2 – Gujarat 1st inn 291/6 in 92 overs (P Patel 90, M Juneja 77, C Gandhi 17*, R Kalaria 16*, A Nayar 3/91, S Thakur 2/67) Lead by 63 runs
Day 3 – Gujarat 1st inn 328/10 in 104.3 overs (R Kalaria 27, S Thakur 4/84, BS Sandhu 3/63); Mumbai 2nd inn 208/3 in 67 overs (S Iyer 82, SK Yadav 45, A Tare 13*, CT Gaja 3/54) Lead by 108 runs
Day 4 – Mumbai 2nd inn 411/10 in 137.1 overs (A Nayar 91, A Tare 69, C Gaja 6/121); Gujarat 2nd inn 47/0 in 13.2 overs (P Panchal 34*, S Gohil 8*) Need 265 runs to win
Day 5 – Gujarat 2nd inn 313/5 in 89.5 overs (P Patel 143, M Juneja 54, B Sandhu 2/101) Gujarat won by 5 wickets