Shillong, Apr 3: Myntdu Lions had one foot in the final of the Meghalaya Cricket Association’s Senior Men Challengers Cup but, in a dramatic second innings, Umiam Eagles pulled off a brilliant comeback to win by 19 runs here today.
Put into bat after losing the toss, the Eagles were dismissed for just 114 but the Lions were in turn humbled as they were all out for 95, the lowest score in the tournament so far.
Defeat in their last round-robin match means that Myntdu remain stuck on 10 points and the loss has also brought their net run rate below that of Nokrek Tigers, so they are now second, in front of Umiam, who have 8 points and a game still to play.
On a day that would eventually belong to the bowlers, the Eagles started well with the bat, making 47 before the Lions could find a breakthrough. Aryan Bora took the opening wicket and went on to scalp another five to finish with figures of 6/15 in 7.5 overs as the left-arm orthodox bowler decimated the opposition. This is the second time that Bora has bagged a five-wicket haul and he now has 13 wickets in the tournament, the most of any bowler.
The rout was near complete, except for the resistance of Eagles captain Raj Biswa (33) and Wallam John L Kynshi (29). Extras also contributed 26, with Biswa let off the hook after he was bowled off a no ball. The other wicket-takers were Rohit Rai (2/17) and Riboklang Hynniewta (1/11).
With the first innings ending in just 26.5 overs, the Lions had to bat for an hour before lunch. Batters fell on either side of the break, some to excellent bowling while others were guilty of rash shots that were not required with such a small target.
In contrast to the spin of Bora, Umiam’s major weapon today was pacer Lakhan Singh, who bagged 5/37. His early success convinced captain Biswa to continue with him and he bowled out his full 10 overs. His match-winning performance also earned him the player-of-the-match award as well.
Junjun M Sangma was the brightest spot for the Lions with the bat, as he made 26, while Bora tried to get his side to the finish line with careful shot selection but he ran out of partners and was left stranded on 13 not out as Umiam were all out in 27.4 overs. The other bowlers who bagged wickets for the Eagles were Aditya Singhania (2/14), Biswa (1/10) and Morningstar Khongwir (1/20).
Tomorrow will see the two bottom sides, Symper Panthers and Simsang Sharks go head to head. Neither team remains in the running for a place in the final but both will want to get their first win on the board.
(Meghalaya Cricket Association photo. Lakhan Singh of Umiam Eagles celebrates bowling Kumar Sewa of Myntdu Lions)