Shillong(Meghalaya), Feb 10: Meghalaya are just 28 runs away from a place in the final of the Ranji Trophy plate group after they had the better second day of the semifinal against Mizoram in Mangaldai, Assam, today.
Chasing 153 for victory, Meghalaya ended play on 125/4 in their second innings, with captain Kishan Lyngdoh (34 not out) and Jaskirat Singh Sachdeva (19 not out) at the crease and looking to carry the team over the finish line tomorrow morning.
In a low-scoring contest that has seen 15 wickets fall on the first day and 19 on the second and with a strong line-up of Mizoram bowlers, Meghalaya cannot afford to take the task lightly but both Kishan and Jaskirat have shown themselves to be up to the task with measured and mature performances before.
Today Meghalaya resumed their first innings on 115/5 in pursuit of Mizoram’s 144/10.
Akash Kumar Choudhury then led the way with the ball in Mizoram’s second innings, claiming 5/33 (match figures of 8/69) for his second five-wicket haul in first-class cricket. Aryan Borah, who took 6/58 yesterday, bagged 4/49 today to finish with a second consecutive haul of 10 wickets in a match – a brilliant return for the confidence the selectors placed in him after he was drafted into the squad for the game against Sikkim last time around where he captured 12 scalps. The other wicket to fall was taken by Dippu Sangma (1/22).
One of Aryan’s victims was Agni Chopra, Mizoram’s dangerous guest player, who had struck a rapid 69 from 67 balls before being caught by substitute Anish Charak. Meghalaya would have felt a lot better with Chopra back in the pavilion and his dismissal was the start of a collapse that saw Mizoram lose their last five wickets for 11 to be bowled out for 153.
Meghalaya, though, had their own mini collapse, which saw them lose three wickets in six deliveries with the score stuck on 28. Swarajeet Das’s 29 and Kishan’s unbeaten 34 then restored confidence in the chase and, after the former’s dismissal, Jaskirat stepped in comfortably and he and Kishan put on an unbeaten 50-run stand for the fifth wicket.
The two will want to knock off the remaining runs together tomorrow and not provide any openings to Mizoram’s bowlers, especially Mohit Jangra and KC Cariappa, who took five and four wickets respectively in the first innings.