When Arunachal Pradesh stepped into the List A fold, not many were optimistic about the side’s chances in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
But in the two matches that it has played so far, Arunachal has won both. After beating Mizoram in the season opener a couple of days back, the team defeated Sikkim by 49 runs on Friday, thanks to a gritty century by Techi Dorio.
In the other matches of Plate group, Nagaland defeated Meghalaya by seven wickets at the GS Patel Stadium in Nadiad, while Uttarakhand defeated Puducherry by 65 runs at Shastri Maidan in Anand.
The Motibagh Stadium in Vadodara, however, witnessed a competitive encounter, where Aruanchal defeated Sikkim.
Winning the toss, Sikkim opted to field first and taking advantage of an inexperienced bowling attack, Arunachal openers — Doria (122) and Samarth Seth (89) — went on a rampage to help the team reach 306-4 in 50 overs.
Doria, who made it to the team coming from a shoulder injury, proved his mettle as he crafted his innings with 13 boundaries and three sixes.
In reply, Sikkim got off to a good start, courtesy a gritty knock of 123 by its skipper Nilesh Lamichaney.
Despite a solid start, inexperience in the middle-order cost the team dear as it failed to show resilience. Though Lamichaney tried his best, his efforts were not enough as the side could manage to put up 257-7 in 50 overs — falling 49 runs short of the target.
While Arunachal’s top-scorer Dorio was happy with his feat, he lauded the opponent for putting up a brave show despite having no professional guest players in the side.
Doria, who last played competitive cricket in 2014, was happy to be the first player from the state to score a century.
“I have been waiting for this moment for the last four years and I am glad that I could achieve this,” Doria said.
There is, however, a bit of confusion with the spelling of his name. While the player writes it as Doria, the BCCI website and other documents spell it as Doria.
The cricketer cleared the confusion, saying: “In my birth certificate, it is spelt as Doria, but when I was in school, my teachers spelt is Doria and that remains in my marksheets as well, so I decided to keep it as Dorio,” the youngster laughed.
Though the team lost despite his century Sikkim captain, Lamichaney, is looking at the positives. "It is a learning experience for the team. From last match, we have improved a lot. With time, things will only get better," he said.
In the other match in Anand, Puducherry went down to Uttarakhand by 65 runs, a day after the BCCI cancelled registration of eight of its players.
A depleted Puducherry team was all out for 226, falling way short of the 292-run target after opting to field.
Batting first, Uttarakhand rode on opener Karanveer Kaushal’s knock of 101 and Vaibhav Bhatt’s 73 to reach 291-7.
In reply, Puducherry’s seasoned all-rounder Abhishek Nayar tried his best, building an 86-run partnership with A S Govindaraajan (58).
But the Mumbai-based Nayar’s knock of 94 was not enough to guide the team home.
For Uttarakhand, Sunny Rana scalped 4-52, a day after starting the campaign with a loss against Bihar.
In the other match of the day in Nadiad, former Karnataka batsman, KB Pawan scored an unbeaten 113 to help his team register a seven-wicket win over Mehalaya.
Batting first, Meghalaya rode on opener Raj Biswa’s 99-ball 71, to get off to a good start. Down the order, Yogesh Nagar remained unbeaten on 58 while Gurinder Singh struck 56 to help Meghalaya reach 246-6.
In reply, Pawan played a classy innings to ensure that there was no slip-up. He was backed by Sedezhalie Rupero, who scored 50.
After he departed, captain Rongsen Jonathan (43) partnered with Pawan to guide the team home.
“It is really good to play a List A match after nearly three years and it is even more satisfying because it has helped the team win,” Pawan said.
Having played for Karnataka and Kerala in the past, he used his experience to steady the ship.
“We have a young team, slowly the performance will get better,” Pawan said. Even captain, Jonathan admitted that the wicket was tough to bat on. “It was getting slower but Pawan played really well and we ensured that things were not kept for late. That strategy worked,” Jonathan said.
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