Shillong, Dec 1: Stubborn resistance from Nitesh, who struck a half-century, and the tail-enders frustrated Meghalaya on the second day of the U-23 Col CK Nayudu Trophy plate group match in Shillong today and they were set a tricky target of 173 to win the match by the visiting side.

Manipur made 126 in their first innings yesterday, to which Meghalaya could only reply with 102 before they were bowled out today morning. Manipur then made another 148 in the second innings and Meghalaya were 26/1 at stumps, still 147 runs behind.

Going into the second innings with a lead of 24, Manipur were reeling at 79/8 before the last two partnerships put on 69 vital runs. Nitesh (51) was the hero for the visitors as he smacked the ball around the park and once even into the VIP dining tent for a massive six. He was provided good company by Bikash Singh (10), VA Yadav (15) and even No. 11 L Bishorjit, who did not get off the mark, but still survived for 20 deliveries.

Nitesh’s wicket was the final one, claimed by Meghalaya captain and fast bowler Akash Kumar (1/20), who brought himself back into the attack in the 49th over and claimed the cherished wicket when Nitesh edged the ball into the gloves of wicketkeeper Rohit Shah.

Most of the wickets were claimed by spin, though, with Kartik Pawar finishing with three wickets for 61, while Arbin Singh ended with 2/51. One other wicket was taken by pace bowler Md Nafees Siddique (1/11). There were also three run outs that were the result of poor running between the wickets.

Chasing 173 for victory, a total higher than in their first innings, is not going to be easy for the hosts.

They lost Surya Rai early on to Manipur fast bowler Bikash. But the diminutive Ibitlang Thabah held strong and finished the day on 15 not out, with Pulkit Sansanwal not out on 3.

26/1 is how it ended for the hosts and they require another 147 for their first win of the tournament.

(Photo of Meghalaya’s Ibitlang Thabah batting contributed by the Meghalaya Cricket Association)

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