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Ranji: Gujarat enter final; Mumbai and TN in tense battle

January 04, 2017 19:14 IST

Pacer Jasprit Bumrah produced his career-best spell in first-class cricket as Gujarat staged a sensational comeback to beat Jharkhand by 123 runs and reach their second ever final of the Ranji Trophy cricket Tournament.

Bumrah finished with figures of six for 29 and alongside veteran pacer R P Singh plotted the downfall of Jharkhand, who were skittled out for 111 in their second innings after being set a target of 235 runs on day four of the semifinal.

Gujarat turned it around in dramatic fashion after starting the day at 100 for four and were just 82 runs ahead of first-time semifinalists Jharkhand.

Manpreet Juneja and Chirag Gandhi came up with valuable knocks of 81 and 51 before Gujarat were all out for 252 in their second innings, setting Jharkhand a very gettable target of 235.

However, R P Singh and Bumrah tormented the Jharkhand batting line-up to fire Gujarat into their first Ranji Trophy final since 1950-51 when they had lost to Holkar by 189 runs.

While RP's efforts stood out in the first innings, Bumrah took over from him on day four. The former India left-arm pacer contributed to the victory with a match haul of nine wickets while Bumrah bagged seven.

The result also marks Gujarat's steady progress in domestic circuit. They were champions in the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2015 before lifting the 50-over Vijay Hazare trophy the following season.

In the crucial chase, Jharkhand were up against it ever since their openers Pratyush Singh and Sumit Kumar fell without scoring.

Feeling the heat, captain Saurabh Tiwary decided to take on the opposition bowlers before R P trapped him in front of the stumps.

Jharkhand suffered a body blow in the 19th over when their leading run-getter Ishank Jaggi played on to his stumps off Hardik Patel, leaving his team in disarray at 27 for four. Jaggi had earlier scored a sublime 129 to help his team take the first innings lead.

Virat Singh and Ishan Kishan added 36 for the fifth wicket until Bumrah, brought back for his second spell, sealed the game in his team's favour with a fiery effort.

The matched ended when R P had Vikash Singh caught behind by wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.

Brief scores: Gujarat 390 and 252(Juneja 81; Nadeem 5/69) vs Jharkhand 408 and 111 in 41 overs (Kaushal Singh 24; Bumrah 6/29).

Mumbai, Tamil Nadu locked in a tense fight

Skipper Abhinav Mukund and Baba Indrajith smashed elegant centuries as Tamil Nadu, in search of an outright win, declared their second innings at 356 for six to set a tricky target of 251 runs before former champions Mumbai in the semifinal.

Mukund made 122 off 186 balls with the help of 11 boundaries, while Indrajith scored 138 off 169 deliveries with 13 fours and one six to set the platform for Tamil Nadu's total in the second innings.

Mumbai's first-innings total was revised to 411 when they were awarded five penalty runs due to Tamil Nadu's batsmen running on the pitch in the 74th over. That meant their target became 251 from the 256 Tamil Nadu had set.

At stumps on the fourth day and penultimate day, Mumbai were five for no loss with young Prithvi Shaw (2 not out) and Praful Waghela (3 not out) negotiating the remaining five overs of the day.

The match is interestingly poised as Mumbai still need 246 runs to win with a full day's play remaining for Tamil Nadu bowlers to bundle out their opponents and enter the final of the Ranji Trophy for the ninth time in the history of the tournament.

Having conceded the first innings lead on the third day yesterday (Tuesday), Tamil Nadu had no option but to push for an outright victory.

Having entered the fourth day with a 101-run deficit, Tamil Nadu had were forced to seize the momentum with some aggressive batting and they did so by scoring over four runs an over in their second essay.

Tamil Nadu was also helped by some patchy fielding from Mumbai players who faltered when put under pressure.

Mukund and V Ganga Sridhar Raju (28) shared 64 runs for the opening stand before Balwinder Sandhu got the first breakthrough in the form of Raju.

But then Indrajith joined hands with Mukund and the duo played aggressively and piled up 185 runs for the second wicket to push Tamil Nadu forward.

Wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik (24) and Vijay Shankar (24) also played good hands to help Tamil Nadu's cause.

For Mumbai, Sandhu (2/67) and Vijay Gohil (2/110) picked up four wickets between them.

Brief Scores: Tamil Nadu 305 & 356 for six in 78 overs (Baba Indrajith 138, Abhinav Mukund 122; Balwinder Sandhu 2/67) vs Mumbai: 411 & 5 for no loss in 5 overs.

IMAGE: Gujarat's pacer RP Singh

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