Shillong, Sep 29: Nagaland had a helping hand from the weather as they defeated Meghalaya by 10 runs in a rain-affected Vinoo Mankad Trophy Plate Group match in Ranchi today.

Meghalaya had made 165/5 in 45 overs and Nagaland finished on 106/4 in 31.3, which was enough to give them victory according to the VJD method (an alternative to the more famous Duckworth-Lewis).

Meghalaya went into this match with the same squad that defeated Arunachal Pradesh yesterday. Once again, they lost the toss and were made to bat first but this time the first three batters, including yesterday’s hero Josiah Momin, were all dismissed for ducks.

However, captain Kevin Christopher (46) rebuilt the innings with Rohit Yadav (14) in a 60-run partnership for the fourth wicket. They were dismissed within the space of nine balls of each other, though, and the weight of responsibility then fell on the shoulders of Mrityunjay Bharali (50 not out) and Bharat Gurung (36 not out).

The two batted together for the rest of the innings and made 97 runs in an unbeaten sixth wicket partnership. They were really starting to get into a good flow when rain curtailed the innings at the 45-over mark with the scoreboard reading 165/5.

The rain did let up later and Nagaland’s target was revised down to 156 in a maximum of 41 overs.

Waldo Sangma produced a brilliant opening spell to claim the opening two wickets. With the new ball he bowled six overs (with three maidens) and took 2/8. He was probably being saved for a spell towards the end but never bowled again as rain ended the match abruptly.

Nagaland were able to mount a fightback of their own, though, in the form of Yugandhar and Thejasilie Savino, who put on 53 runs for the third wicket. The two kept the scoreboard ticking over, with the required run rate always below six an over.

Although Savino and one other batter were dismissed, this good scoring rate proved crucial when another spell of rain hit the ground midway through the 32nd over. With the weather not improving in time, Nagaland were 10 runs ahead of Meghalaya according to the VJD method and were judged the winners.

Apart from Sangma, Meghalaya’s other wicket-takers were PM Santosh (1/21) and Gavineal Marpna (1/35).

Meghalaya will now have a day’s break before they take on Mizoram on Friday.

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