Gujarat v Railways, final, Ranji Trophy Plate League, Mumbai, 1st day January 5, 2008

Railways' Rawle stands tall amid ruins

Cricinfo staff

Railways 202 for 7 (Rawle 89*, Parmar 3-56) v Gujarat

Harshad Rawle carried Railways past 200 with an unbeaten 89 © Vipin Pawar/DNA

A gritty, unbeaten 89 from Harshad Rawle helped Railways recover from a shaky start to finish the first day of the Ranji Trophy Plate League final against Gujarat at 202 for 7. Rawle provided spine to the innings - the next highest score was 26 - but Railways would have felt they hadn't done justice to Murali Kartik's decision to bat.

Gujarat were on the ball from the start, with Siddharth Trivedi striking twice to reduce Railways to 18 for 2. Rawle then joined the veteran Sanjay Bangar at the crease and the two added 49 runs for the third wicket. Runs came at a trickle and, when Ashraf Makda had Bangar caught behind in the 34th over, Railways had managed 67.

Rawle held the fort at one end but was unable to find support at the other. The next four wickets fell for the addition of 115 runs, with three batsmen going past 15 but failing to make a bigger contribution. Mohnish Parmar - the leading wicket-taker in the Plate League -scalped three of the four as he finished with figures of 3 for 56 from 24 overs.

An unbeaten 20-run partnership between Rawle and Harvinder Singh took Railways past the 200-run mark. Rawle looks in good touch and the runs he adds with the tail could prove crucial in the final result.