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Saturday, December 9, 2023

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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Cooch Behar Trophy: Meghalaya survive tense final session to share spoils with Mizoram

SHILLONG:

Meghalaya survived a tense last couple of hours to hold out for a draw in their U-19 men’s Cooch Behar Trophy match against Mizoram at the MCA Ground, Polo, here today.

An exciting last day saw Meghalaya resume play on 53/3, trailing Mizoram’s first innings total of 206 all out. The hosts’ trials with the bat continued and they were dismissed for 147, giving Mizoram a first innings lead of 59. The visitors then batted with purpose and declared at tea on 134/5, which gave their bowlers two hours and plenty of runs to bowl at as Meghalaya were set an unlikely 194 for victory.

In the end, Meghalaya held on to finish on 102/7, with Manthan Dey leading the defence with a resolute 53 from 66 unbeaten.

Meghalaya’s first innings was crying out for a batter who could stick it out long enough in the middle to put up a good total. Alas, the top score was 27, made by both Pushkar Raj and Angkit Tamang, who were the overnight batters. Banialam Mylliemngap, coming in at No. 9, also provided a much-needed 24 to get Meghalaya close to 150 before they were dismissed just before lunch.

The hosts had to make inroads fast into Mizoram’s line-up in the second innings and Angkit could have had a wicket in the first over of the second session but the catch was put down at mid-on. Banialam (1/7), though, did get a wicket in the first and only over he bowled by rattling the stumps but Mizoram were able to carry on without further loss, eventually posting 50 with a cracking cut shot to the boundary by Marcus (29).

However, the top order batter almost immediately fell to an edge off the bowling of Balgrik Sangma (2/23) and Mizoram slipped to 62/5, with Meghalaya scenting an opening. Two of the other wickets were claimed by off spinner Da-u-la-biang Shangpliang (2/43).

The one big error for the hosts was when Johan was put down in the gully area when he had yet to reach double figures. It was a sharp chance but that was what the fielder was there for and it proved to be costly as Johan, who had already made 73 in the first innings, went on to hit a second half-century, eventually ending the innings on 51 not out. He was the standout player for Mizoram, as he shone with the ball as well, claiming 7/54 in Meghalaya’s first innings.

With enough of a runs cushion, Mizoram declared to give themselves one full session to bowl at Meghalaya.

The visitors were hungry for the win and raced through their overs and the change of ends. Meghalaya did not help the cause with two unnecessary run outs and there were a couple of otherĀ batters who were out to rash shots as well.

In the end, though, it was the resoluteness of Manthan that saw the home team to safety. Coming at No. 3, he saw many partners come and go but his fifty ensured that Meghalaya escaped defeat. This time the off spinner Johan went wicketless but his team mate, leg spinner Kima, picked up 4/30.

Meghalaya will stay on home turf as they are set to welcome Nagaland in their second match from 24 November at the same venue. Nagaland also drew their opening game, against Sikkim, in another rain-affected contest.

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