Hyderabad effortlessly marched to victory by an innings and 81 runs against Meghalaya in their Ranji Trophy plate group match at the MCA Ground here today.
Yesterday, on the first day, Meghalaya had been bowled out for 111 and Hyderabad were 182/4 at stumps. This morning, KR Rayudu (not out overnight on 54) carried on from where he left off yesterday to reach his century. He lost the company of Pragnay Reddy (who added 2 to his overnight score of 32) early on but created solid partnerships with Tanay Thyagarajan (35) and CV Milind (50 not out).
Hyderabad were in an aggressive mood and struck 164 runs in the 33 overs bowled in the morning session. The runs flowed off the bat, with the three Meghalaya spinners of Adarsh Joshi, BB Dey and Jaskirat Singh Sachdeva bearing the brunt.
The visitors declared on 346/7 at lunch. Milind had just enough time to bring up his half-century – doing so off the final ball of the session – with the No. 9 fast bowler smacking eight fours and a six in just 38 deliveries.
Earlier, Rayudu, who was the eventual Player of the Match, brought up his well-earned century with an enormous six that saw the ball sail out of the ground and probably into the Wahumkhrah. He finished the innings on an unbeaten 124 from 216 deliveries (12x4s, 3x6s).
It was difficult for Meghalaya to keep their spirits up in the face of such a batting onslaught but they soldiered on as best they could. Today Ram Gurung (3/55), Swarajeet Das (3/75) and Dippu Ch Sangma (1/61) claimed a wicket each, the first two adding to their tally of two scalps each yesterday.
Meghalaya then began their second innings needing 245 runs just to make Hyderabad bat again.
If the visitors aimed to win the match quickly, they started in the right way by taking the first three wickets cheaply. After that, however, came some major resistance by Meghalaya captain Kishan Lyngdoh, who was well supported by Tarique Siddique.
The pair put on 62 for the fourth wicket before Tarique (15 from 41) was run out rather needlessly. Kishan (47 from 56, 9x4s) was then bowled the same over to leave the hosts on 80/5.
Only one other batter got to double figures – Jaskirat, whose innings was an absolute delight. Having to hold the fort with tailenders for company, the diminutive left-hander plastered the bowlers, hitting 11 fours in his score of 53 from 39 balls.
The real highlight was when he took Kartikeya Kak, Hyderabad’s quickest bowler, to the cleaners one over, smacking him for five fours in consecutive deliveries. None was a fluke or a mishit – they were all excellent cricket shots.
Jaskirat was eventually out to Saaketh (1/19). The off spinner, who claimed four wickets in the first innings, was not much used today, having bowled just 4 overs before being reintroduced, and he castled Jaskirat with the very first ball. Another spinner, the left-arm orthodox Thyagarajan (3/45) ended this innings with the best figures for the visitors.
Meghalaya will remain in Shillong for their next match, which will be against Nagaland starting on 19 January. The defeat to Hyderabad has been bruising but should also prove to be a valuable lesson for the Meghalaya boys going forward.