The first ball of Tuesday’s last over summed up Mumbai’s performance at the Holkar Stadium. (HIGHLIGHTS)
A peach of a delivery from Shardul Thakur took the edge of Samit Gohel’s bat to the slips but Prithvi Shaw dropped the sitter. Gujarat, who had to bat just one over, ended at 2/0 in reply to Mumbai’s 228 at the end of Day One of the Ranji Trophy final.
The Gujarat bowlers fired as a unit, sharing the spoils while Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav were the main run-getters for Mumbai, scoring 71 and 57.
On a pitch that had grass, it wasn’t tough for Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel to decide as he sent in the defending champions. It was a good start for the second-time finalists as RP Singh got rid of Akhil Herwadkar in the seventh over.
Shreyas Iyer joined Shaw but after a brief partnership of 41, chased one outside off-stump to throw his wicket away — a trend that his teammates followed.
Mumbai went for lunch at 97/2 with Shaw at 70 off 90 balls. He was dropped twice, but it would be unfair to belittle his innings as it was laced with 11 boundaries.
It ended as Suryakumar tried a single that was not on and forced the 17-year-old Shaw to the danger end. It was a soft dismissal but turned the game in Gujarat’s favour.
Captain Aditya Tare was the next to head back, edging one to first slip and Mumbai were reeling at 128 for four. Suryakumar’s half-century might have brought hope for the defending champions, but he too threw away his wicket in the 57th over, mistiming one to mid-off.
To make matters worse, umpire Anil Chaudhary got it wrong as Siddhesh Lad tried to pull a short one from RP Singh but missed by a mile. Gujarat appealed vociferously and that seemed to unnerve the umpires.
It was a gritty show from Abhishek Nayar and Balwinder Sandhu, as the duo steadied Mumbai.
In the 75th over, Parthiv introduced spin from both ends and in the next five overs, Sandhu, Thakur and Vishal Dabholkar were back in the pavilion.
Rujul Bhatt picked up two wickets in his first two overs while Dabholkar was run out. With 15 off 63 balls and a wicket to go, Nayar went for the big shots but could only add 20 to his total before Rush Kalaria forced him to play a short one which he edged to Parthiv.
This was the third-lowest first-innings total for Mumbai in a Ranji final.
Gujarat had to bat for just one over, and it might have given Mumbai a psychological advantage had Shaw held on to the catch but Gohel, who had dropped Shaw earlier in the day, would now like to build on his fantastic season.
Mumbai made two changes to the team that beat Tamil Nadu in the semifinal, with Akhil Herwadkar and Vishal Dabholkar replacing Praful Waghela and Akshay Girap.
For Gujarat, fast bowler Chintan Gaja was in after Jasprit Bumrah was picked for the India ODI and T20 squads.