Swapnil Gugale-Ankit Bawane set Ranji record with unbeaten 594-run stand
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Swapnil Gugale-Ankit Bawane set Ranji record with unbeaten 594-run stand

The duo eclipsed the long-standing Ranji record of 577, set by Baroda’s Vijay Hazare and Gul Mohammed against Holkar in the 1946-47 season.

cricket Updated: Oct 14, 2016 23:02 IST
Harit N Joshi
Harit N Joshi
Hindustan Times
Ranji,Cricket,Record partnership
Mumbai : Skipper Swapnil Gagale and Ankit Bawne of Maharashtra after their record partnership 594 runs against Delhi at the Ranji Trophy match at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday. PTI Photo (PTI10_14_2016_000212A)(PTI)

As Swapnil Gugale trudged his way down the staircase, a few minutes after his mammoth unbeaten 351 (5x6s, 37x4s), the Maharashtra skipper had already received over 500 congratulatory messages.

Gugale and his teammate Ankit Bawane (258 not out) had shattered India’s long-standing highest ever partnership record of 577-run by Baroda’s Vijay Manjrekar and Gul Mohammad with a 594-run stand for the third wicket. Gugale and Bawane put up a dominating show after Delhi had reduced Maharashtra to 41 for two on the opening day on Thursday.

However, with just 30 runs away from equalling the world record stand of 624 runs by Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, Gugale decided to declare Maharashtra’s innings at 635 for two, leaving everyone amused. Delhi scored 21 in the last five overs of the day at stumps.

“We were not aware of the records. The only record I knew was that of the highest partnership of 500-odd (577 in Ranji Trophy). We had a plan that we have to give them a few overs to play and we had a certain amount of time after which we had to declare. We had a plan in the morning itself that we have to score 620 odd runs and then give them no matter what the time is. Our target was achieved,” said Gugale.

With Delhi a bowler short on Day Two after Navdeep Saini pulled his stomach muscles after bowling just one ball in the day, the Maharashtra duo made the most of the weakened attack. Singles came at will. Twos were converted into threes and half-hearted efforts on the boundary line were signs of Delhi giving up on plans to get rid of Gugale and Bawane.

Gugale and Bawane played 83 overs on Friday and batted for almost the entire Day Two at the Wankhede Stadium. Delhi skipper Unmukt Chand tried every player in his playing XI, except wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, to dismiss the Maharashtra duo, but none succeeded.

The flow in which Gugale and Bawane were batting, they felt they could have carried own. “Itna mazza aa raha tha batting karne mein, aisa lag he nahi raha tha hum aur 2 din tak out honge (We were enjoying batting so much that we didn’t feel like we would get out for another two days). We didn’t play any risky shots,” said Bawane, whose innings was laced with 18 fours and two sixes.

Bawane knows how it feels like when two batsmen stick to the wicket for almost two days in succession. He was part of the fielding team when Tamil Nadu’s Abhinav Mukund (300) and Murali Vijay (243) piled on 462 runs for the first wicket partnership against Maharashtra in a Ranji Trophy match at Nashik in 2008/09 season.

“This has happened to us before... it is a terrible feeling. Delhi players asked us ‘bore nahi ho rahe ho?’ (aren’t you’ll bored of batting?). I told them ‘who gets bored while batting’,” said Bawane bursting into laughter.

There are two challenges while batting almost an entire day — staying hydrated and beating boredom. “Jab Delhi ke ladko ke saath khel rahe ho, tum ko kuch karna nahi padta hai. Saamne se sab aate-jaate rehte hain. Bas haso, enjoy karo. (when you play against Delhi, you don’t have to do anything. They come to you on their own. You just have to enjoy it),” said Bawane.

Delhi’s coach KP Bhaskar lamented missed opportunities, but is confident of Delhi surpassing Maharashtra’s mammoth first innings total. “We have the firepower in our batting and we have chased big totals in the past. I feel they are 50 runs short. If we manage to get some partnerships, we can chase it,” Bhaskar told HT.

First Published: Oct 14, 2016 18:27 IST