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Ranji Trophy final: Mumbai chase No 42 against Jasprit Bumrah-less Gujarat

Mumbai, Ranji Trophy champions for a record 41 times, are favoured to add another title as they face Gujarat, who are in the final after a gap of 66 years.

cricket Updated: Jan 09, 2017 21:35 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times
Jasprit Bumrah,Mumbai,Gujarat
Parthiv Patel, who recently made a comeback into the Indian Test team after eight years, will be eager to give Gujarat their first-ever Ranji Trophy title.(AP)

When defending champions Mumbai take on Gujarat in the final of the 83rd edition of the Ranji Trophy at the Holkar Cricket Stadium here from Tuesday, they’ll not just start as favourites, but will also have history on their side.

They’ve won the trophy on 41 of the 45 occasions they have reached the summit clash, and with the dominance with which they’ve come through this time, it would be foolish to bet against Aditya Tare’s boys.

Mumbai topped Group A and became the first team to enter the last eight. And against Tamil Nadu in the semifinals, they put up a gritty show on the fifth day to register victory.

Gujarat have reached the final for the first time in 66 years. It was in Indore that they lost the only previous final they had featured in — against Holkar at the Old Nehru Stadium.

However, Gujarat, who crushed Jharkhand to reach the final, won’t be pushovers. With skipper Parthiv Patel, seasoned seamer RP Singh and the prolific Priyank Panchal in the side, Mumbai should face a formidable opposition. But Gujarat will miss the services of paceman Jasprit Bumrah, whose 6/23 helped dismiss Jharkhand for 111 in the second innings of the semifinal after the eastern side had gained a first-innings lead.

Bumrah has been picked in the ODI and T20 squads that will take on England and will thus have to report for national duty.

In the batting department, much will depend on Panchal (1270), the highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy this year, and Samit Gohel (889) on how they deal with the Mumbai bowling attack. Patel too carries lot of experience. Gujarat weren’t too far behind Mumbai in the group stages as they finished second in the pool with 26 points.

Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit said: “We’ve been following the same routine throughout the season. We’ve put up a good show against Tamil Nadu as well and we hope to continue playing in the same fashion.”

Pandit lauded 17-year-old opener Prithvi Shaw, who scored a terrific hundred on Ranji debut as Mumbai chased down Tamil Nadu’s target of 251 runs on the tricky fifth day. “He showed courage and played a very mature knock at this level. He looked very confident and is a very positive player,” he said.

Their meeting in the group stages had ended in a tame draw but Gujarat had taken the first-innings lead.

However, with both sides having proven their character in edging past fighting opponents in the semifinals, the summit clash should be interesting with Mumbai aiming to add to their title collection and Gujarat hoping to create history.

First Published: Jan 09, 2017 21:34 IST