Ranji Trophy 2018-19: North-East teams struggle on Day 1

As Ranji Trophy got underway, most of the Plate Group teams realised that four-day cricket is a different ball game altogether.

The Meghalaya players before the Ranji Trophy fixture against Arunachal Pradesh at the MCA Stadium in Shillong on Thursday.   -  Special Arrangement

When the Vijay Hazare Trophy got over last month, the nine new teams, which featured in the Plate Group for the first time, were happy with the way they fared in the tournament.

But on Thursday, as Ranji Trophy got underway, most of the Plate Group teams realized that four-day cricket is a different ball game altogether, and it is important to forget the glories of Vijay Hazare Trophy. While Sikkim ended the day on an impressive note at 299-9, thanks to an unbeaten 202 by Milind Kumar, Vijay Hazare quarterfinalist, Bihar struggled as it was bundled out for a paltry 60 in the first innings against Uttarakhand in Dehradun. In the other fixture, Nagaland was at 189-4 after bundling out Mizoram for 106 in the first innings. In Shillong, host Meghalaya was reeling at 87-6 in the first innings after restricting Arunachal Pradesh to 166.

At the MCA Stadium in Shillong, Arunachal batted first and was bundled out for 166, with Samarth Seth playing a knock of 50. Gurinder Singh scalped a five-for to put the host in command. But, things changed as Meghalaya batsmen failed to show steel and lost quick wickets. Captain Jason Lamare was batting at 42. For Arunachal, Licha Tehi scalped 3-12.

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In Dimapur, Taruwar Kohli played a knock of 49, but Mizoram was bundled out for 106. Abrar Kazi scalped 4-16. Later, captain Rongsen Jonathan’s unbeaten 70 took Nagaland 189-4.

If Nagaland finds itself in a comfortable position, Bihar was bundled out for 60, with Uttarakhand’s Deepak Dhapola bagging a six-for. After bundling out the opponent for a paltry score, Uttarakhand rode on Karn Veer Kaushal’s 91 to put up 201-7 at stumps.

The biggest highlight of the day, however, was the way Sikkim fought back against Manipur in Kolkata. Milind Kumar — one of the guest players — hammered a classy knock of 202 and helped the team bounce back.

Sikkim was reeling at 15-5 at one stage and reaching a triple-digit score looked tough. That’s when Milind stepped up and played his unbeaten knock to guide the team to 299-9 in the first innings. With none of the top-order batsmen showing resilience, Sikkim seemed to have lost the plot completely, but Milind — who has earlier featured for Delhi in the domestic circuit — took the onus on himself and brought him his double century in just 248 deliveries.