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, here on Wednesday.
Bumrah finished with figures of six for 29 and alongside veteran pacer RP 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 semi-final here.
Gujarat turned it around in dramatic fashion after starting the day at 100 for four and were just 82 runs ahead of first-time semi-finalists 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, RP 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 RP 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.