Shillong, Feb 5: Abhay Negi claimed his best ever first-class figures on the second day of Meghalaya’s Ranji Trophy match versus Sikkim in Mangaldai, Assam, today.
Negi had taken 4/32 by end of play yesterday and returned with three more wickets for just 10 runs to finish with 7/42 as Sikkim, who resumed on 105/6, were bundled out for 128, trailing Meghalaya’s first innings total of 174 by 46 runs. Dipu Sangma also added to his overnight tally of two wickets to finish with figures of 3/16. These were also his best figures in the four-day format.
Negi then claimed another three in Sikkim’s second innings to leave them on 66/7 at stumps. Negi thus has match figures of 10/59 with the possibility of adding to his scalps tomorrow.
Negi’s previous best innings figures in first-class cricket was his 5/90 against Goa last month. He had also been in the news this season after hitting the joint fifth-fastest half-century in a T20 match against Mizoram in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy back in November.
Meghalaya then began their second innings with positive performances by the local players, with Wallam Lyngdoh Kynshi hitting 29 and Tengchan Sangma 31. Guest-professional Ravi Teja also contributed 29 and all these runs were vital as Sikkim removed fellow guest-professionals Punit Bisht for a golden duck and Sanjay Yadav for 1. These last two batsmen had provided 85 and 40 runs respectively for Meghalaya in the first innings.
Teja and Tengchan Sangma put on 55 for the third wicket, but Meghalaya then experienced a mini-collapse, losing four wickets for seven runs before Dipu Sangma (26) and Wanlambok Nongkhlaw (12) put on 43 for the seventh wicket.
Meghalaya then got to 155 all out, setting Sikkim a target of 202 for victory.
Sikkim’s top order fell like dominoes with Negi (3/17), Yadav (3/34) and Chengkam Sangma (1/2) all claiming wickets, with the first five falling for just 16 runs.
On 66/7 by the time stumps were called, Sikkim still require another 136 runs to win. Iqbal Abdulla will likely be their only hope; he is not out on 30, the only batsman to reach double figures so far.
(Meghalaya Cricket Association photo of Abhay Negi)