Shillong, Mar 13: The Meghalaya Cricket Association’s U-15 Inter District Cricket Tournament 2023 began today in a new format that should thoroughly test the budding teenaged cricketers and prepare them to represent the state in national tournaments.

This year, each match is being held over two days with two innings per side. Two venues have been chosen by the MCA – Umbuda in Ri-Bhoi and Williamnagar in East Garo Hills.

Zone 1 in Umbuda began today between Shillong Cricket Association-A and Ri-Bhoi District Cricket Association. Action in Zone 2 will begin on 15th March.

Those present on the opening day were MCA Vice-President and RBDCA President Rayonald Kharkamni, MCA Honorary Secretary Gideon Kharkongor, MCA Honorary Treasurer Dhrubajyoti Thakuria, MCA Tournament Committee Chairman and East Khasi Hills Cricket Association President Dister Marbaniang and other members of the SCA, RBDCA and match officials.

Kharkongor told the players that there is a need to further their development of patience and temperament, besides endurance and skill. He encouraged them to try and score big runs by playing long innings, just the sort of thing they will need to be able to demonstrate in the BCCI tournaments, such as the Vijay Merchant Trophy.

On the first day, Ri-Bhoi were dismissed for 107 in their first innings to which SCA-A responded with 66. Ri-Bhoi then made 135 all out, leaving SCA-A a target of 177 to win tomorrow.

Ri-Bhoi, who were put into bat after losing the toss, were reeling at 26/7 in their first innings before Gaurav Narleng came to the rescue with 42. He and the lower order pair of Sanjay Sawkuta (17) and Benedict Jones Makdoh (14) helped Ri-Bhoi get over 100 runs. Opening bowler Aashish K Lohar was devastating with the ball, taking 6/38, while Gaurav J Thakuria claimed 2/29.

SCA-A did not have it easy with the bat and Lohar was their top scorer with 23, the only batter to reach double figures. Narleng (3/11) and Makdoh (3/30) picked up three wickets each, with one going to Suraj Kapri (1/6).

Ri-Bhoi then struggled at the start of their second innings, losing 47/6, but Narleng pitched in with 26, while Sawkuta cracked a half-century, hitting 52 from just 40 deliveries. Makdoh, meanwhile, made 30 from 27 as the two of them made 74 for the eighth wicket. All five SCA-A bowlers picked up wickets, with Rithick K Kshir (2/7), Lohar (2/33), Advay Ratan Surana (2/39) and Thakuria (2/44) bagging a brace each, while Mewankitbok M Kharpuri took 1/12.

In Zone 1 of the tournament are SCA-A, RBDCA and SCA-B in Group A and East Khasi Hills Cricket Association, East Jaintia Hills District Cricket Association and West Jaintia Hills District Cricket Association in Group B.

In Zone 2 are Tura District Cricket Association, South Garo Hills District Cricket Association and West Khasi Hills District Cricket Association in Group A and East Garo Hills District Cricket Association and North Garo Hills District Cricket Association in Group B; the two Group B teams will play each other twice.

SCA-A squad: Aashish K Lohar, Dipayan Nandi, Arman Chettri, Rithick K Kshir, Samelawan S Nongkseh, Rudra S Rathor, Mewankitbok M Kharpuri, Rohan Moor, Vedanth Vadera, Rohit Sharma, Gaurav J Thakuria, Abagtha JK Marak, Advay Ratan Surana, Krishiv Chaudhary

RBDCA squad: Benedict Jones Makdoh, Soojal Roy, Gaurav Narleng, Sanjay Sawkuta, Pynshai S Timung, Rocky Saha, Nobojit Chettri, Suraj Kapri, Keshab Shah, Anmol Kr Shah, Vikram Marbaniang, Adrian Rymbai, Aryan Tomar, Manbhalang L Marshillong, Pawan Subedi

(Meghalaya Cricket Association photo)

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