Ranji debut: Nagaland firmly on front-foot against Mizoram
Impressive bowling display ensures visitor’s lowly total; captain Jonathan leads host’s retort with quick fire fifty
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Nov. 1: The first-ever match of the national domestic cricket front, Ranji Trophy Match, which is being hosted by Nagaland, got underway on Nov. 1 at the Nagaland Cricket Stadium in Dimapur. Both Nagaland and the visiting Mizoram team were making their Ranji debut.
As a mark to commemorate the event, the chief minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio, inaugurated the new player’s pavilions at the stadium. Rio also tossed the coin, won by Mizoram who opted to bat.
The visitors’ first innings lasted 47.2 overs as they were bowled out for a paltry 106. For the visitors, Taruwar Kohli was the top scorer with 49 runs off 86 balls. Only three batsmen could reach double-figures. Five of their batsmen were dismissed for duck.
For Nagaland, Abrar Kazi was the wrecker-in-chief with figures of 16-7-16-4. Pawan Suyal and Imliwati chipped in with 2 wickets each.
In reply, Nagaland took their score to 189 for the loss of four wickets at stumps. Captain R Jonathan was unbeaten on 70 off 60 balls. Opener Nitesh scored 45 and wicketkeeper Pawan contributed with 30. The home team maintained a healthy run-rate of 4.72, scaring their 189 runs off only 40 overs.
At stumps, Jonathan and Kazi (15*) were at the crease. They will resume batting on Day II at 8.45 am. For Mizoram, Moia and Rajput shared the spoils with two wickets each.
While speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the match, the general secretary of Nagaland Cricket Association, Abu Metha, informed that ‘each Naga cricketers playing the Ranji Trophy match will be earning about INR 1.5 lac per match which does not include other allowances such as travelling expenses and kits.’
Each Nagaland cricket player, he said, will be taking home at least INR 20 to 25 lac at the end of the season. Metha observed potential for cricket as not only great but felt it would contribute immensely towards generation of local employment. He informed that an amount of INR 4 to 5 cr. would be infused into the local Naga economy, every time Nagaland gets to host the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) matches. He further said that Nagaland would be hosting several matches from the next season.
The deputy chief minister, Y Patton, other legislators, BCCI officials and cricket fans witnessed the first day of the historic match.