Irani Cup: Priyank Panchal scores 73 as Gujarat dominate against Rest of India | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Irani Cup: Priyank Panchal scores 73 as Gujarat dominate against Rest of India

Priyank Panchal and Chirag Gandhi scored half centuries as Gujarat took an overall lead of 359 against Rest of India in the Irani Cup.

cricket Updated: Jan 22, 2017 18:45 IST
Chirag Gandhi scored an unbeaten 55 as Gujarat took an overall lead of 359 against Rest of India in the Irani Cup.
Chirag Gandhi scored an unbeaten 55 as Gujarat took an overall lead of 359 against Rest of India in the Irani Cup.(PTI)

First innings centurion Chirag Gandhi continued from where he left off, chipping in with an unbeaten half-century to ensure Ranji champions Gujarat didn’t fritter away the advantage in the Irani Cup match at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday.

The third day of the match against Rest of India, however, was marred by two poor umpiring decisions.

The Gujarat batsmen found the going tough in the second innings against a disciplined bowling display by the Rest attack, but Gandhi’s unbeaten 55 and opener Priyank Panchal’s resolute 73 helped them finish the day on 227 for eight in the second innings.

With an overall lead of 359 with two days left, Gujarat will fancy their chances of lifting the Irani Cup on debut.

Dubious umpiring

Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem was the pick of the Rest of India bowlers with four wickets, but the Jharkhand bowler’s two dismissals caused huge controversy.

Umpire Virender Sharma, who had an off-day, came under the spotlight when Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel reacted sharply at being given out caught bat and pad against Nadeem.

Then, it was comical as Sharma adjudged Mohit Thadani caught in the slips, another dubious decision. Thadani was also claiming the ball had hit his bat, but Nadeem later said he had appealed for leg before and TV replays seemed to suggest he was struck on the pad in front of the wicket.

Shouting at umpire

But it was Parthiv’s dismissal that was the talking point of the day.

He was extremely unlucky to be given out caught by short-leg fielder Akhil Herwadkar as Nadeem’s ball was nowhere near the bat. The batsman was fuming and could be heard shouting “umpiring kyu karte ho” (why are you umpiring) while repeatedly turning around and glaring at the official on his walk back.

The decision which left him five short of 10,000 first-class runs upset Parthiv so much during tea time he stormed into Match Referee Chinmay Sharma’s room and was heard loudly complaining about it.

The outburst was understandable given the high stakes. This match is also important from the point of view of the Test team’s selection as either Parthiv or Wriddhiman Saha, the Rest wicket-keeper and India regular, is going to miss out.

Parthiv has the edge after Saha’s first innings duck here. Having got out for 11 in the first essay, chopping a ball on to the stumps, he seemed determined to leave nothing to chance, looking set on 32.

Asked to comment on the umpiring decision, Parthiv told reporters: “I will be charged if I talk, I cannot comment on it.”

From his team’s point of view, the wicket came at the wrong time. A good hand from Parthiv could have taken the game away from the opposition. At that point, Gujarat were ahead by just 265 runs, having taken a first innings lead of 132.

The game was in balance after Manprit Juneja also fell for the addition of 12 runs, caught behind off the impressive Hyderabad pacer Mohammed Siraj.

Gujarat’s position could have been more difficult when on 169 for five, Gandhi’s uppish drive carried to Rest skipper Cheteshwar Pujara at covers. Pujara claimed the catch but the third umpire ruled in favour of Gandhi, the hero of the first innings with 169.

Gandhi put the lapse behind him and launched into a typical counter-attack to ensure Pujara and Co will have to bat out of their skins to deny Gujarat the trophy.