Wriddhiman Saha’s stunning double century along with a steady unbeaten 116 from Cheteshwar Pujara helped Rest of India beat Ranji Trophy champions Gujarat by 6 wickets in a historic run chase to win the Irani Trophy. With this win, RoI successfully defended the Irani Trophy that they won last year by beating Mumbai.
Chasing a mammoth 379 to win, RoI were in a spot of bother as the Gujarat bowlers struck at regular intervals to reduce them to 63-4 in the second innings. It was when Saha joined skipper Pujara in the middle. While Pujara was holding one end up, Saha decided to take on the bowlers to keep the scorecard ticking. Saha was not afraid to take on the spinners as he came down the track and smashed them all over the park.
Saha reached his fifty off 95 balls before he stepped on the accelerator and took just 61 balls to reach his next 50 runs as he became the first wicketkeeper to score a 100 in the fourth innings of an Irani Trophy match. Amidst this, Pujara silently reached his fifty off 113 balls. RoI ended day 4 on 266 for the loss of 4 wickets with Saha and Pujara remaining unbeaten on 123 and 83 respectively.
Day 5 saw a more aggressive Saha as the Bengal wicketkeeper-batsman looked in a devastating mood. He looked to finish things off quickly and reached his 150 in no time before racing to his double hundred off just 270 balls. Pujara, on the other hand, played a solid knock and reached his 100 before finishing off the match with a boundary over the head of Hardik Patel.
Saha remained not out on 203 off just 272 balls (out of which 80 were scored off just 58 balls on day 5) with the help of 26 boundaries and 6 sixes while Pujara remained unbeaten on 116 off 238 balls. With this knock, Saha almost sealed his spot in the Test team ahead of the series against Bangladesh and Australia.
Here are some of the interesting numbers from the 2017 Irani Trophy match.
27- This is the 27th time Rest of India have won the Irani Trophy. The Ranji Champions have won it on 26 occasions and 2 matches failed to produce a result.
315- The partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara & Wriddhiman Saha is the second highest by any pair for any wicket in Irani Trophy.
1- Wriddhiman Saha becomes the first batsman to score a double century in the fourth innings of an Irani Trophy match.
1- Wriddhiman Saha is the first wicketkeeper-batsman to score a century in the fourth innings of an Irani Trophy match. He is also the first wicketkeeper-batsman score a double century in an Irani Trophy match.
1- Cheteshwar Pujara becomes the 1st player to score 1500+ runs in a first-class season in India twice.
Brief scores: Rest of India 226 and 379-4 (Wriddhiman Saha 203*, Cheteshwar Pujara 116*, Hardik Patel 2-104) beat Gujarat 358 and 266 by 6 wickets.