December 7, 2000

A new flower blooms in Gujarat's P Patel

In the latest round of Vijay Merchant (under-16) West Zone League played at Shri Shivaji Stadium, Kolhapur, Maharashtra took on Gujarat. Gujarat wicket keeper - batsman P Patel was the hero of the match with centuries in both innings.

Patel showed admirable qualities that mighttake him to the highest level in a few years. Incredible as it is, he scored 302 runs of the 493 Gujarat made in the whole match, not to forget the two catches he took standing behind the stumps.Parag More of Maharashtra had a brilliant all round display too but was outshone by Patel.The match came to a draw on Thursday with Maharashtra taking five points and Gujarat three.

On Tuesday Maharashtra won the toss and elected to bat and 364/6. A fifth wicket partnership of 254 between Sandeep Gaikwad and Parag More was the highlight of the first day's game. Gaikwad made a brilliant 142 with 19 fours and More made 109 with 16 fours, but lost both the centurions by the end of the first day.

Maharashtra were all out for 431 on the second day. Opening bowler Kunjan Fadia with 5/102 was exceptional amongst Gujarat bowlers. Gujarat had an uphill task of scoring 432 to get the first innings lead P Patel made a classy 101 as Gujarat were bowled out for 196 in 63.3 overs. Parag More who had a great time with the bat was the toast of Maharashtra bowling with an awesome bowling figures of 12-2-23-6.

Asked to follow on Gujarat owed much of its second innings to P Patel who opened the innings and went on to score an unbeaten double century of 201 in 288 balls which included 27 fours and a six. At the end of the match Gujarat were 297/5 in 81 overs. This was a match that young Patel would remember for a long time.

In the other match of the Vijay Merchant (under-16) West Zone League match played at Motibaug Ground, Baroda, between Saurashtra and Baroda, a draw was the only possible result. On Tuesday Saurashtra won the toss and elcted to bat. Saurashtra declared their innings at 354/8 in the 111th over on Wednesday. Rahul Parmar powered his way to an innings of 125 which included 18 boundaries.

Opener Jayesh Yadav contributed a patient 74 to the Saurashtra cause. For Baroda A Bochare did the bulk of bowling and finished with the figures of 43-17-72-3. Baroda got off to a good start and made 79 for the first wicket. Opener Robin Patel made 61. Saurashtra captain Nikhil Rathod (5/65) ripped through the Baroda middle order, but a late charge by Yusuf Pathan who made 50 in 61 balls with 4 boundaries and a six helped Baroda to finish at 193 in their first innings.

Asked to follow on Baroda showed more character in the second innings and thanks to a brilliant partnership of 139 for the third wicket between Rakesh Solonki 90 (11 fours) and Sanjay Soni 82 (17fours). Yusuf Pathan again came good with the bat scoring an unbeaten 56 in 66 balls (6 fours and 2 sixes) as Baroda declared their second innings at 300/6 in 87 overs.

Saurashtra went on a leather hunt in their second innings and were 99/3 in 13 overs. Opener B Chauhan completed his fifty in 36 balls and remained unbeaten on 55 in 42 balls (7 fours and 1 six) to liven up the final proceedings on Thursday. Saurashtra took home five points and Baroda were to be satisfied with three.

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