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Parthiv 143 leads Gujarat to maiden title

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Kishore: Parthiv leads Gujarat to historic win (3:42)

Shashank Kishore review day 5 of the Ranji final from Indore (3:42)

Gujarat 328 (Parthiv 90, Juneja 77, Thakur 4-84) and 313 for 5 (Parthiv 143, Juneja 54) beat Mumbai 228 (Shaw 71, Suryakumar 57) and 411 (Nayar 91, Iyer 82, Tare 69, Gaja 6-121) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In December 2015, Parthiv Patel struck his maiden List A century to steer Gujarat to their first domestic 50-over championship win. Just over a year later, he was at the forefront of yet another title triumph with an innings that was physically and mentally more demanding than any other he has played in recent memory.

Having kept wicket for 221 overs across two innings and over three days and made a combative 90 that gave Gujarat the first-innings lead, he steered a fourth-innings chase of 312 with a remarkable 143. His 25th first-class ton helped Gujarat clinch the Ranji Trophy for the first time in the very city where they lost to Holkar in their only previous final, 66 years ago.

In doing so, with five wickets in hand - a proposition that had looked unlikely when they lost three early wickets on the final day against a fired-up Mumbai gunning for their 42nd title - Gujarat also achieved the highest-successful finals chase in the tournament's 83-year history. They eclipsed Hyderabad, who had chased down 310 against Nawanagar in 1937-38.

Parthiv's 143 took Gujarat to within 13 runs of victory and will deservedly hog the headlines, but Manprit Juneja's 54 was no less important. When he walked in, Gujarat were 89 for 3. Mumbai were ascendant, the runs weren't quite flowing, and there was a stillness to proceedings. Balwinder Sandhu, who was expensive on the fourth evening, returned rejuvenated and was getting the ball to jag back in sharply.

During the course of the next two hours, Parthiv and Juneja didn't just rebuild the innings but also went into overdrive. By the time Juneja was dismissed, getting a faint under-edge to a sweep off Akhil Herwadkar, the 116-run fourth-wicket stand had wrested the momentum back in Gujarat's favour.

Another wicket at that stage may have turned things around. But Aditya Tare dropped Rujul Bhatt on 1 off Shardul Thakur, starting to celebrate before completing the catch cleanly. It had a deflating effect on Mumbai. Parthiv and Bhatt then added 94 to all but seal Gujarat's full set of national titles, achieved across three successive seasons. The wining moment came off Thakur, Chirag Gandhi hitting him for two successive fours to trigger wild celebrations.

The match could have been much closer than it eventually panned out. Gujarat lost Priyank Panchal, the season's highest run-getter, in the second over of the day when he was pouched in the slips. Bhargav Merai was bowled shouldering arms to Sandhu, and Samit Gohel was caught behind off Abhishek Nayar in debatable circumstances. Gujarat were tottering. Mumbai were masters of controlling these kinds of situations - they had been in 11 finals and won each one of them since their last runners-up finish in 1990-91.

Parthiv and Juneja had to contend with plenty of chirp from the slip cordon. Mumbai had been visibly unhappy at Gujarat's delaying tactics on day four. On a number of occasions, the umpires had to intervene to get Gujarat moving. In the end, they were 14 overs short when Mumbai's innings closed. Particularly keen on letting his displeasure be known to Gujarat was Shreyas Iyer, who a couple of days ago admitted to "being bored" with Gujarat's approach.

The umpires intervened again, this time to cool things down and let the game take its course. Parthiv, sensing an opportunity to score, took on Sandhu, who until then had bowled a superb first spell that read 7-2-20-2. Six boundaries came off the five overs that immediately followed the fall of the third wicket, among which were successive fours for Parthiv off Sandhu, a slap through cover followed by an imperious drive past mid-off. Juneja didn't hold back either, driving and flicking his way to four boundaries in the same period.

On one hand, Tare had to contend with the frustration of the partnership. On the other was the dilemma of whether or not to keep attacking and risk conceding more boundaries. Nayar, who has time and again delivered in crises, eased his mind from one end, bowling in the corridor and troubling Juneja with balls that deviated away. But by then, both batsmen were in control.

In a bid to mix things up, Tare brought in the left-arm spinner Vijay Gohil. Juneja peppered the cover boundary by driving him inside-out from the rough, from where there wasn't much help. Parthiv used his feet to get to the pitch and milk runs. Gujarat had reached base camp. The century stand had come in little over two hours.

But as is the case with most high-pressure clashes, there was a twist. Juneja relaxed just a wee bit against Akhil Herwadkar's part-time offspin, and Tare gave him an angry send-off while the other Mumbai players gestured towards the dressing room.

There was life in the contest, and plenty of needle as well. But Parthiv wasn't perturbed. He stepped across and whipped Sandhu for three fours off his next over to enter the 90s. Mumbai took the second new ball in the 82nd over. Given Gujarat's rate of scoring, this had to be the last roll of the dice.

Parthiv inside-edged Thakur to the fine leg boundary, the ball nearly shaving leg stump. Then came a confident lbw appeal off an indipper. It wasn't given out, but replays suggested it was much closer than it had initially looked. It was a slice of luck for Parthiv, but a man who had played a knock of this magnitude deserved some.