Ranji Trophy Final: Dubey, Sharma, Patidar propel MP on the verge of first-innings lead

Yash Dubey, Shubham Sharma and Rajat Patidar led Madhya Pradesh’s batting domination on day three of Ranji Trophy Final against Mumbai, bringing the side in touching distance of taking a first-innings lead, ending the day at 368/3 in 125 overs, with just six runs needed to overtake Mumbai’s 374 here on Friday.

Friday was a day which well and truly belonged to Madhya Pradesh. First, Dubey and Sharma, the overnight batters, made 133 and 116 respectively, sharing a mammoth 222-run stand for the second wicket. Once the duo fell, Patidar took centrestage with some eye-catchy shots to be unbeaten at 67.

For Mumbai, it was a hard day of toil under sunshine, getting very little help from the pitch and dropping Sharma at 55 as well as getting out Patidar on 52 off a no-ball added to their woes.

Patidar, whose attacking intent got fans in the stadium chanting ‘RCB, RCB’, began the final session with a cracking cover drive off off-spinner Tanush Kotian before punching Shams Mulani beautifully between two cover fielders. His aggression continued when he created room to drive through long-off and then played a delightful late cut to keep the Madhya Pradesh run-making juggernaut going. Patidar reached his thrilling fifty in just 44 balls by clipping Mohit Awasthi through mid-wicket.

It seemed that Patidar had thrown his wicket away when he chased a wide ball from Mulani and was caught at backward point. But replays showed that the left-arm spinner had overstepped, giving the right-handed batter reprieve at 52. Dubey collected two more boundaries and took his score to 133 before sending a faint edge behind to Tamore, giving Mulani his first wicket of the match.

Post the reprieve, Patidar slowed down and played 27 balls without making a single run. As soon as Kotian arrived, he got back-to-back boundaries – a backfoot punch through cover was followed by a powerful drive through mid-off. Patidar and captain Aditya Shrivastava saw off the remaining time in the day to stamp Madhya Pradesh’s authority in the final.

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