Shillong, Jul 16: The BCCI is set to take decisions on the 2020-21 season at a meeting on Friday in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and now seems a good a time as any to take a look back at what was the most successful Meghalaya cricket side of last season – the senior women’s team.
Although they were only able to win one T20 Trophy match, they had far more to write home about in the One Day Trophy, where they won seven out of nine matches played, all of which took place in Puducherry.
Bowlers like Debasmita Dutta, Vandana Mahajan, Riticia Nongbet and guest batsman Saee Purandare helped Meghalaya win five games on the trot and ultimately finish third in their group.
Arguably without Purandare’s batting the tale would have been very different. Like their male counterparts, the Meghalaya women’s team depended on their guest player to score the bulk of the runs. Purandare struck three centuries and one fifty at an average of 77.43 for a total of 542 runs, which was more than all of her 14 team mates put together (487). Mahajan was the only other batsman to hit a half-century, with a high score of 51.
The bowling department had a lot of positives, however. Dutta was the pick, with 18 wickets to her name for 208 runs in 81.3 overs and best figures of 4/11 against Sikkim. Mahajan was close behind with 17/206 in 84.1 overs with best figures of 6/5 against Jammu & Kashmir.
Also in double figures in terms of wickets was Nongbet, who took 10/212. Her best figures were 3/20, which came against Manipur.
Nongbet was among a crop of youngsters who were picked in the senior team and she also represented Meghalaya in the U-23 One-Day Trophy. Altogether there were eight players who played in both the U-23 and senior teams.
Although the U-23 team only won three of their matches, there were plenty of positives to take away.
Like Nongbet, the tall Ajima Sangma looks like a promising bowling prospect. She took five wickets (5/151) for the senior team and four (4/113) for the U-23 side. Nongbet, meanwhile, took 9/146 in the U-23 tournament, including at least one wicket in six consecutive games.
She was the top wicket-taker for Meghalaya in that competition, followed closely by Luiza Tamang (8/238), Deiphibapynshngain L Mawnai (7/193) and Sandria Momin (6/113). Tamang also hit two half-centuries (30.57 average) and she and Solina Jaba (27.00 average) were the two bright spots in the batting department.
Had the coronavirus pandemic not struck Meghalaya could well have expected even greater success from their women’s teams. Hopefully the disruption caused by Covid-19 will not hurt their progress.
(Meghalaya Cricket Association file photo)