Meghalaya’s U-19 men’s team can hold their heads high as they finished as runners-up in the plate group of the Cooch Behar Trophy 2023-24, with the winners being hosts Nagaland.
The four-day match ended in a draw yesterday in Sovima but Nagaland were awarded the title as they had taken a first innings lead.
After winning the toss on December 29, Nagaland batted first and posted 275 all out in their first innings, to which Meghalaya responded with 234/10. These two innings took up more than two full days of action and Nagaland, knowing they simply had to avoid defeat to win the title, then batted out the remaining overs into New Year’s Day to finish on 334/5 in their second innings.
Bowling was definitely the high point for Meghalaya over the course of the tournament, with Shavian Blah and Angkit Tamang taking 26 and 25 wickets respectively in seven matches each but there were also some notable knocks with the bat, such as Pushkar Raj Singh’s century in the semifinals.
To get to the final, Meghalaya required a remarkable turnaround in fortunes after the difficult start to their round robin campaign.
It began with a draw versus Mizoram and then defeat to Nagaland, both of which were at home. Then came their first match on the road, against Sikkim, where they had to overturn a first innings deficit to win by two wickets. After that, they built up their confidence levels and proceeded to win their other round robin fixtures convincingly before trouncing Arunachal Pradesh in the semifinals.
“I’m proud of the way in which our U-19 boys recovered after the first two matches and emerged as a formidable force,” MCA President Nababrata Bhattacharjee said after the final. “The team played with fighting spirit and as a united entity with all players taking responsibility and playing to their potential. There was always some player or the other who stood up to be counted when others did not perform on expected lines in a match. The fighting spirit and determination were awesome. They never gave up without fighting till the end.”
Bhattacharjee also sincerely appreciated the efforts of each member of the support staff in getting the Meghalaya boys to the final.
“Their heads can be held high and our state applauds each one of them as champions for qualifying for the elite groups next season,” the MCA President added.
He ended with a hope that the Meghalaya U-16 boys’ team will also give a good account of themselves in the plate group final of the Vijay Merchant Trophy from tomorrow where the state will take on Manipur in Jamshedpur.