Parthiv, Juneja steer Gujarat to first innings lead

Captain-wicketkeeper hits 56th half-century in first class cricket

Gulf News

Indore: Captain Parthiv Patel’s 90 lifted Gujarat to 291 for six in their first innings as they took a crucial 63-run lead over defending champions Mumbai on the second day of the Ranji Trophy cricket final here on Wednesday.

Apart from the seasoned left-hander, Manprit Juneja scored 77 as the duo shared a 120-run stand for the fourth wicket to help Gujarat move past record champions Mumbai’s first innings total of 228 all out.

Parthiv’s experience came to the fore as Gujarat were in deep trouble early, losing openers Samit Gohel (4) and Priyank Kirit Panchal (6).

Gohel fell to medium pacer Shardul Thakur offering a catch to Suryakumar Yadav, while Panchal edged it to wicketkeeper Aditya Tare off medium pacer Abhishek Nayar’s bowling, with Gujarat at 37-2.

Bhargav Merai (45) was then joined in the middle by Test wicketkeeper Parthiv. They warded off the danger with a 69-run stand. The partnership provided the stability that was required after Gujarat lost two early wickets.

Merai fell five short of a half-century as he edged it to Tare off Nayar, who picked up his second wicket at the Holkar Cricket Stadium.

At 106-3, Juneja joined hands with Parthiv and the left-right combination flourished with ease. Stroke-making was the best part of the partnership and both of them scored fours regularly, piling pressure on the Mumbai bowlers.

While Parthiv recorded his 56th fifty in the first-class cricket, Juneja too enjoyed the limelight during his 14th first-class half-century.

Their 120-run stand was halted by Nayar, who forced an edge off Parthiv to glovesman Tare, with Gujarat at 226-2, barely two runs behind Mumbai’s first innings. Parthiv’s 90 came from 146 deliveries and featured 12 fours.

Juneja soon joined his captain in the pavilion when he was caught and bowled by Thakur at his personal score of 77 off 95 deliveries, with Gujarat at 254-5. His knock was studded with 11 hits to the fence.

Mumbai bagged another wicket in the form of Rujul Bhatt (25), who was caught by Prithvi Shaw off seamer Balwinder Sandhu.

Then, Chirag Gandhi (17 not out) and Rush Kalaria (16 not out) ensured that no more wickets fall as they took Gujarat to 291-6 — a lead of 63 runs.

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