Shillong, Nov 20: Abhishek Kumar (right) was the star of the show as Meghalaya defeated Nagaland by 91 runs despite defending a small total in their Plate Group match of the Men’s U-25 State A Trophy 50-over tournament in Guwahati today.
Kumar took 6/17 in 9.4 overs to dismiss Nagaland for 44 and thereby earn Meghalaya’s second win in two outings.
Earlier, Meghalaya were all out for 135 after Nagaland won the toss and elected to field first. If conditions were challenging for batters, no one mentioned that to Arien B Sangma (left), who delivered a fine knock of 52 from just 66 deliveries (five fours). For a terrific all-round effort, the wicketkeeper also effected a run out and took a catch in the second innings.
In fact, apart from an early wicket, Meghalaya were cruising at the start, as Arien made 88 for the second wicket with number three batter Abhishek Gupta (29 from 67, four fours). The two had carried Meghalaya to victory by nine wickets in Wednesday’s opener against Sikkim, making today their second successful stint together.
However, the pair proved to be the mainstay of Meghalaya and their dismissal led to the folding of the innings. Nine wickets fell as the team added just 44 to the score, including the last six batters for just five runs. This despite contributions of 14 from Roshan Warbah and 13 by Joydeepan Deb.
With Meghalaya dismissed early, in 38.1 overs, Nagaland’s innings began right away but they were reduced to 14/4 in five overs when the players finally took lunch.
There was no respite following the break, however, as Kumar continued to find his way past the defences of the opposition batters. Such was his hold over Nagaland that Kumar was bowled continuously, as Meghalaya could sniff a huge victory. His six scalps were from a variety of batters, including the top, middle and lower orders. The other bowlers to also grab wickets today were Lokesh Turaha and Agreas Chamcham Sangma, who both finished with figures of 1/12.
Meghalaya wrapped up victory in 18.4 overs, which is a good thing from the point of view of their energy levels as they will next face Manipur tomorrow.
(Meghalaya Cricket Association photo)