Defending champions Gujarat started their Ranji Trophy group B encounter on a winning note against Kerala despite some anxious moments during their low-scoring chase. Chasing a target of 106, Gujarat started the day at 22 for 1 with the Parthiv Patel-led side needing only 83 runs on the final day.
Overnight not out batsman Chintan Gaja (4) was out with an addition of nine runs. Opener Priyank Panchal then added 24 runs for the third wicket along with Bhargav Merai (21) in 11.3 overs but the former then ran himself out with Gujarat still needing 50 runs.
Manprit Juneja was the fourth batsman to get dismissed at the team total at 75.
Jalaj Saxena and Sachin Baby the increased opposition’s woes with couple of quick wickets, leaving Gujarat reeling at a score of 81/6. They still needed 24 runs to get past the target.
It was the captain, who played small but crucial knock in company of Chirag Gandhi as they shared 27 runs for the seventh wicket to finally end the game on a winning note. Both of them did not take pressure and batted at a strike-rate better than other batsmen. Patel played an innings of 18 no off 22 whereas Gandhi too made a vital contribution of 11 no off 16.
At one stage, it seemed like Kerala has made a remarkable comeback but Parthiv’s experience in trying circumstances proved to be the key. Meanwhile, it was a dream debut for former India leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, who played his maiden first-class game for Gujarat.
He had shifted his base to the state before the start of the season. The discarded Indian leg-spinner ended the game with bowling figures of 8 for 135. Debutant Siddharth Desai, 17-year-old pacer, too made merry on his debut and had a match-haul of nine wickets.
Gujarat will now face Jammu and Kashmir in their next game in Surat while deflated Kerala will fly back home to face Pankaj Singh-led Rajasthan. Gujarat are all set to miss the services of Jasprit Bumrah and Axar Patel again as both are part of Indian team for ODI series against New Zealand.
Gujarat: 307 & 108/6 (Priyank Panchal 30, Bhargav Merai 21, Parthiv Patel 18*; Jalaj Saxena 2-16, Akshay Chandran 2-37) defeat
Kerala: 208 & 203.
Points: Gujarat 6; Kerala 0
Rajasthan 1st Innings: 423.
Jharkhand: 265 and 332/6 (Ishank Jaggi 103 no, Nazim Siddiqui 100, Pankaj Singh 3/53). Match Drawn
Points: Rajasthan 1; Jharkhand 3