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    Chirag’s unbeaten 136 lifts Gujarat to 300-8 in Irani Cup

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    Middle-order batsman Chirag Gandhi plundered unbeaten 136 to lift Ranji Trophy champions Gujarat to 300 for eight against Rest of India (RoI) on the opening day of the Irani Cup at the Brabourne Stadium here on Friday.

    The 26-year-old, who scored his maiden century in first-class cricket, forged a 109-run stand with Manprit Juneja (47) to bail the team out of trouble.

    Chirag was unbeaten having smacked 18 fours and a six from the 159 deliveries.

    For RoI, seamers Siddharth Kaul (4-73) and Pankaj singh 3-77) stood out as they picked wickets at regular intervals.

    Gujarat, winning the toss, failed to get a good start. Veteran pacer Pankaj Singh removed opener Samit Gohel (0) in the first over with an LBW verdict.

    Dhruv Raval (39) and Ranji season top-scorer Priyank Panchal (30) then joined hands to forge a 54-run stand before Pankaj struck gain, forcing an edge off Panchal to Karun Nair at slip, to leave Gujarat two down for 55-2.

    Incoming batsman Parthiv Patel too didn’t last long, falling for 11 after being played on off a delivery from Siddharth Kaul.

    Kaul quickly then took his second wicket when Raval edged it to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, to leave Gujarat at 82-4.

    Then, Chirag and Juneja (47) tried to repair the damage and their rearguard action was successful in pulling the team out of the hole.

    Once they settled in, they shifted gears, frustrating the RoI bowlers as the 109-run partnership was forged.

    The stand was broken when off-spinner Akhil Herwadkar’s was punched by Juneja to captain Cheteshwar Pujara at extra cover.

    The wicket lifted RoI’s spirit and Kaul was back to hunt down two more wicket of Karan Patel (13) and Mohit Thadani (4).

    Meanwhile, Chirag completed his century as he stood in the way of a successful day for RoI. He became more aggressive after completing the ton.

    But at the other end, Pankaj came and dismissed Chintan Gaja (8) as Gujarat ended the day at 300-8.

    Brief scores: Gujarat first innings 300-8 (Chirag Gandhi unbeaten 136, Manprit Juneja 47; Siddharth Kaul 4-73, Pankaj singh 3-77) on Day 1.

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