Shillong, Apr 9: Myntdu Lions produced a stunning batting display to win the final of the Meghalaya Cricket Association’s Senior Men Challengers Cup by five wickets in an enthralling final against Nokrek Tigers here today.
Chief guest and former Indian national team captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, praised the Lions for the chase, which was interrupted by a heavy downpour.
After winning the toss, Nokrek’s captain Sylvester Mylliempdah chose to bat first, which has worked well for the Tigers in the past. Despite hiccups along the way, his team posted a challenging 220/9 in 47 overs. However, during the lunch break torrential rain struck the ground and the lengthy delay meant that Myntdu were set a target of 133 to win in 21 overs, which they chased down in 19 overs for the loss of five wickets.
The Lions suffered the loss of early wickets but Player-of-the-Final Junjun M Sangma performed a rescue role brilliantly, smacking 51 off just 31 deliveries in an innings that included three big sixes and six fours. His partnership with Rohit Shah (31) took Myntdu from 29/3 to 62/4 and he then added another 62 runs with captain Dippu Ch Sangma (26 not out).
With good support from Shah and Dippu, Junjun was able to go for the big shots in the second half of the innings and propelled his team to victory. Though he fell just before the end, the hard work was already done and Myntdu were in an unbeatable position.
Earlier, Krishna Thapa produced another stellar innings for 45 but the Tigers became mired in difficulty at 117/7 before tail-ender Ram Gurung (47) and all-rounder Anish Charak (40) came together to pull their team out of difficulty with a partnership worth 70 runs. Some big hits at the end saw the Tigers reach 220/9, a total that should have posed a challenge. Later, Charak, who scored 180 runs in the tournament and took 10 wickets, was named Player-of-the-Series.
Aryan Bora turned in another great spell of bowling to claim 3/25 in 10 overs, thus finishing the tournament with 16 scalps, the most of any bowler. Dippu and Riboklang Hynniewta both took 2/46.
At the prize distribution ceremony, Azharuddin was formally welcomed to the state by MCA Honorary Secretary Gideon Kharkongor, Vice-President Dipul Ryntathiang and former MCA chief Naba Bhattacharjee.
In his speech, Azharuddin, who is on his first visit to Shillong, praised both sides and encouraged all the players present to continue to be consistent and strive for further success for Meghalaya and the glory of the game.
“If you don’t practise, then your talent is no use,” the veteran of 99 Test matches said. “I’ve seen team mates in my day who were better than me but did not take it seriously. Hard work and consistency are the most important things.”
Azharuddin, who is also the President of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, also said that he is happy that the Meghalaya and other North Eastern states are full members of the BCCI.
(Meghalaya Cricket Association photo)