Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Gujarat completes clinical win over Hyderabad

Priyank Panchal (90) and Bhargav Merai (69 n.o.) put on a partnership of 135 runs to help Gujarat defeat Hyderabad by eight wickets.

Priyank Panchal played a free-stroking 90 to help Gujarat register a win over Hyderabad.   -  G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR

It was a meek surrender by Hyderabad in the season opener as Gujarat recorded an emphatic eight-wicket win in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group-A match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Thursday.

Resuming at the overnight score of 239 for six, Hyderabad lower-order was just not up to the task.

As it Happened: Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Round 1, Day 4

Wicketkeeper-batsman Kolla Sumanth gave catching practice to the cover fielder Juneja off Chintan Gaja. Tanay Thyagarajan shouldered armed to be bowled by left-arm pacer Roosh Kalaria, who finished with an impressive five-wicket haul as Hyderabad innings folded up in the eighth over of the morning.

If the lower-order batting disappointed in the morning for Hyderabad, then it was the turn of the bowlers as they failed to put any pressure on Gujarat batting line-up which was set a meagre target of 187 to win.

And, when the chase began, pacer Ravi Kiran bowled an impressive spell and even got the early breakthrough when he had opener Kathan Patel caught behind by K. Sumanth in the fourth over.

But that turned out to be a brief moment of joy for the home team as the free-stroking Priyank Panchal (90, 80b, 14x4, 2-x6) and Bhargav Merai (69 n.o., 99b, 6x4, 1x6) put on a match-winning partnership of 135 runs which clearly exposed the chinks in the bowling department of Hyderabad.

Panchal, who looked set for a century, perished after top-edging an intended sweep off left-arm spinner Mehdi Hassan and was caught at first slip by Thyagarajan. Incidentally, he was the third batsman in this match to be dismissed in 90s, after his teammate Manprit Juneja and Hyderabad captain Tanmay Agarwal.

After the pacers disappointed with the new ball on a pitch which offered no real assistance, even the left-arm spinners — Mehdi Hassan and Tanay Thyagarajan — put on a dismal show.

The think-tank’s decision to go with two left-arm spinners, in addition to B. Sandeep, who can also chip with slow left-arm spin, and leaving out the genuine off-spinner Saaketh Sai Ram turned out to be debatable.

Gujarat’s batting duo of Panchal and Merai showed great temperament and wonderful stroke selection as finished the task at hand with relative ease.

Brief scores: Hyderabad 233 & 266 (Tanmay Agarwal96, Akshath Reddy 45, Kalaria 5-45, Gaja 2-38) lost to Vidarbha 313 & 187/2 in 36.4 overs ( Priyank Panchal 90, Bhargav Merai 69 not out, Kiran 1-12, Hassan1-65) by eight wickets.