What’s the story?
The ongoing Ranji Trophy final has all the traits to be a historic one. At the end of Day 4, Gujarat still need another 265 runs to upstage Mumbai. However, the defending champions have the experience of closing out finals and the last day of this season promises to one intriguing affair.
Gujarat have all their 10 wickets in hand, and after a positive start, they have managed to stay in the reckoning for an outright win on the final day.
Mumbai bowlers could not induce many faults from the Gujarat’s openers, but come the final day and the champions would leave no stone unturned to start their march.
In case you didn’t know...
Mumbai conceded a first innings lead of 100 after Gujarat piled on 328 runs in the first innings. However, Mumbai responded with some positive intent and kept the Gujarat bowlers at bay for 137 overs.
However, Gujarat openers started in a positive frame of mind and Day 4 ended with both teams believing that they could clinch the coveted trophy.
The heart of the matter
Mumbai were in slight trouble when they were 297 for 6 in their second innings, and were leading Gujarat by just 197. However, the man for crisis Abhishek Nayar was at it again and he dug deep and forged a partnership with number 9 and 10 to frustrate Gujarat.
He opened his shoulders towards the end of the innings but was unfortunate to be dismissed on 91. However, he had put Mumbai firmly in control of proceedings.
For Gujarat, the pick of the bowlers was Chintan Gaja who toiled hard in the sun and picked up 6 wickets for 121 runs in 39 overs. However, their tactics towards the fag end of the innings would be questioned as captain Parthiv Patel spread the field and allowed the game to drift, and this could cost the game in the end.
Also, their over rate was shambolic, and these were all part of their efforts to slow the proceedings. They now have 90 overs to face on the final day, and both an outright win or a draw could hand them the Ranji title.
Gujarat openers Priyank Panchal and Samit Gohel started their second innings with a lot of intent and ended the day at 47 for no wicket. They should look to contine in the same vein on the final day, and then hope for the best.
Also, Priyank Panchal is on the cusp of a record of being the highest run scorer in one single season, and if this record is breached, Gujarat could well have their hands on the trophy.
Both teams would be fairly confident of going the whole distance. However, considering their start and the batting pedigree, Gujarat would be the more confident dressing room.
Mumbai, on the other hand, are well versed with the nuances of winning finals, and the last day of the season could well be a battle of wits and nerves!