The past decade has seen the State of Gujarat at the forefront on the cricket field, with the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah having risen through the ranks. The rise of these superstars has also led to their respective sides reaching new highs in domestic cricket.
While Gujarat — Bumrah’s home team — clinched its maiden Ranji Trophy in 2016-17, Saurashtra — the team of Kathiawari cavaliers Jadeja and Pujara — has made it to the final thrice in the last seven editions.
No wonder then that the Gujarat derby at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium over the next five days will decide one of the two finalists of the Ranji Trophy. With the Gujarati giants set to take each other on, the derby overshadowed the “limited DRS” build-up on the pre-match day.
Both teams will be without the three stars, but they have captains who epitomise “leading from the front”.
Parthiv Patel may not have had the best of seasons with the willow but the manner in which he has shaped this team over the last decade is admirable to say the least. His hundred versus Goa in the last week’s quarterfinal would give Gujarat the belief that the veteran is peaking at the right time.
Jaydev Unadkat, meanwhile, has been relentless all through the season and emerged as the leading wicket-taker with 55 scalps. Having taken over the reigns from Jaydev Shah midway through last season, Unadkat has ensured Saurashtra’s lesser-known stars have become a formidable force.
The fact that the teams have a settled look — with the core intact for at least three years — has helped the two leaders. Both Parthiv and Unadkat would be hoping that their teammates rise to the occasion when it matters the most.
Despite qualifying for the knockouts for four seasons in a row, Parthiv & Co. would be eager to book a place in the final for the first time since their breakthrough season in 2016-17. Saurashtra, meanwhile, is keen on making it to the final for the second season in succession.
Saurashtra: Jaydev Unadkat (Capt.), Harvik Desai, Snell Patel (wk), Avi Barot (wk), Vishvaraj Jadeja, Sheldon Jackson, Arpit Vasavada, Chirag Jani, Prerak Mankad, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Kamlesh Makwana, Kishan Parmar, Samarth Vyas, Kushang Patel, Chetan Sakariya, and Parth Bhut.
Gujarat: Parthiv Patel (Capt.), Priyank Panchal, Samit Gohel, Bhargav Merai, Manprit Juneja, Chirag Gandhi, Roosh Kalaria, Chintan Gaja, Arzan Nagwaswalla, Siddharth Desai, Rujul Bhatt, Dhruv Raval (wk), Kshitij Patel, and Tejas Patel.
Umpires: S. Ravi and Rohan Pandit; TV umpire: C. Shamshuddin; Match referee: Sanjai Verma.
Match starts at 9.30 a.m.