Meghalaya wrapped up their fifth consecutive win in the U-23 men’s Col CK Nayudu Trophy plate group by defeating Nagaland by 134 runs at the MCA Ground here today.
Chasing 328 for victory, Nagaland were bowled out for 193 on a fiercely windy day in Shillong.
Conditions in the morning were difficult for batting with cloudy skies dominating like those of yesterday but it was made even more challenging by the strong breeze blowing across the ground, which whipped hats off umpires and bails off the stumps.
Meghalaya resumed their second innings on 78/6 but were able to add only 28 runs before being bowled out for 106 in 31.5 overs. Nishanta Chakraborty, who struck a century the first time around, carried his bat through the second innings to finish unbeaten on 57, the lone batter to have had a measure of the conditions.
However, that low total was not too much of a bother as Meghalaya had a 221-run first innings lead, which had come about after they posted 295/10 in their first innings before rumbling the visitors for just 74 in reply.
Nagaland showed a lot more fight in their second innings, though, and at one point it looked like the match might be taken to a fourth day, with the dark clouds threatening to end play early.
However, Meghalaya utilised spin when it became too dark for fast bowling and Manish Sharma led the way with his left-arm orthodox, taking 4/22 in 10.5 overs.
Earlier, PM Santhosh, who bagged 5/18 in the first innings, knocked off three Nagaland top order batters to claim 3/58 in 13 overs in the second innings, thus giving him match figures of 8/76.
The other bowlers to take wickets were Badonnam Mylliemngap (1/21 in 7) and Bipin Kumar Ray (1/17 in 5).
Nagaland’s resistance was led by Afzal’s 58 and he found good support in Sujal Prasad (32). Afzal, though, tried to go after Bipin in the off-spinner’s first over but was clean bowled.
The last man to fall was Dip Borah, who hit the ball high down towards the boundary rope. It was swirling around but Santhosh judged it well and kept his eyes fixed on the ball to complete the catch and cap what has been a terrific return for the fast bowler to the playing eleven.
With five wins in five matches, Meghalaya have finished the round robin stage on top of the plate group with 31 points. This was Nagaland’s only defeat and they are second in the standings with 25. Other matches in the group have yet to conclude, so Meghalaya will have to wait another day to know their opponents in the semifinals, which will take place in Shillong from 11 February.