With exactly two weeks to go before Meghalaya’s maiden first-class Ranji Trophy match, we’re taking a look at how the state did in the recent one-day Vijay Hazare Trophy…
Meghalaya won four and lost four of their one-day matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the first time that the state has taken part in the tournament.
That was a pretty decent performance, with the only real disappointment being their defeat to Nagaland by seven wickets. Prior to the tournament captain Jason Lamare and coach Mukund G felt sure that Meghalaya were better than any of the other North East teams.
Meghalaya also should’ve put up a better chase against Bihar after their bowlers did so well to hold the giant state to 211/9.
For the most part Meghalaya’s bowlers performed well.
Gurinder Singh, the left-arm spinner that the Meghalaya Cricket Association as a “prized catch” for the state, shone in his role and justified his selection as one of Meghalaya’s three professional players with 14 wickets and a great economy rate of a little more than three an over. He took at least one wicket in each of the eight matches with a best of 4/20 against Sikkim.
Abhay Negi also had a fine time with the ball. He, too, claimed 14 wickets, but was a bit more expensive, though still within acceptable levels. Half of his wickets, however, came in a single game when Meghalaya demolished Arunachal Pradesh, where Negi bagged 7/16.
Fast bowler Lakhan Singh was also rather consistent and ended with nine wickets in all, but the bowler who had the best average turned out to be Dipu Sangma, who claimed five wickets while conceding just 78 runs.
The batting, though, is where improvements need to be made.
In all, Meghalaya’s batsmen struck 1,702 runs, but nearly 70% (1,181) of these were made by the three professional players – Gurinder, Yogesh Nagar and Punit Bisht.
|Batsman||Runs||Average||Strike rate||Top score|
Bisht, who usually came in at number three, struck two centuries and two half-centuries with a high score of 149 against Sikkim. Nagar was the other Meghalaya batsman to hit a ton, making 109 not out against Puducherry.
But apart from the professionals, not too many of the other Meghalayans got among the runs. Skipper Lamare was the best among these, with 197 runs, including a fifty against Sikkim.
Meghalaya, however, struggled to fix down on an opening pairing.
Numerous combinations were tried out. For the first four games it was Rajesh Tati and Raj Biswa. Neither, though, made much impact, though Biswa did hit 71 in the second match against Nagaland. The 35 runs put on for the first wicket in that game was also the highest the pair managed together.
Sylvester Mylliempdah and Babloo Passah were also used as openers, Mylliempdah on two occasions (0, 24) and Passah on three (10, 37, 21).
With the Ranji Trophy being a multi-day two-innings competition Meghalaya have to up their batting game and they need to find the right opening partnership in order to settle an innings down, when the likes of Bisht and Nagar can really come into their own.
Meghalaya’s first Ranji match will be against Arunachal Pradesh in Shillong from 1st November, according to the fixtures on the BCCI website. Meghalaya began their camp ahead of the tournament yesterday.
(TSR file photo)