KB Pawan maintained his prime form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as Nagaland defeated Sikkim by seven wickets at the Motibagh Stadium in Vadodara on Sunday.
While Nagaland notched up its second win of the tournament, the two other two Plate group fixtures in Anand — where Arunachal Pradesh took on Manipur — and Nadiad — where Mizoram faced Puducherry — were abandoned due to rain and wet outfield.
While the other teams split points, Nagaland rode on Pawan’s classy unbeaten knock of 83 off 91 deliveries to stifle an inexperienced Sikkim side, which comprises all home-grown talents.
While it did not rain in Vadodara, it was a cloudy morning and there was a bit of moisture in the wicket, which was aptly used by Nagaland bowlers, who ensured that Sikkim batsmen were kept on tenterhooks right from the beginning.
Put in to bat first, Sikkim lost wickets at regular intervals and none of their top batsmen could show resilience.
While its skipper, Nilesh Lamichaney, who scored a century in the previous match against Arunachal Pradesh, was dismissed for a duck, Ashish Thapa tried steadying the ship with a knock of 46 off 115 deliveries, but that was not enough for Sikkim.
For Nagaland, Ravi Maurya, Tahmeed Rahman and Imliwati Lemtur scalped two wickets apiece.
Chasing a relatively easy target, Nagaland got off to a shaky start, losing its opener Nitesh Lochab for a duck.
But then, with Pawan steadying things, with a knock of 83, Nagaland did not lose plot.
Pawan, who has previously played for Karnataka, Tripura and Kerala, believes, that as a ‘senior professional’ player, it is his duty to ensure that the team thrives.
“You have more responsibility as a senior batsman and I hope to keep this momentum going throughout the season,” Pawan said.
After playing an unbeaten knock of 113 against Meghalaya in the last game, Pawan knew the job would be difficult and for that he set smaller targets.
“I am trying to take it game by game and not think too much,” the 30-year-old said.
In Nadiad, where Mizoram faced Puducherry, no play was possible after an overnight rain.
Though it did not rain since morning, a wet outfield saw no match. Mizoram coach, PV Shashikanth, admits that it would be a challenge for his team to prove its mettle.
“It is a tough challenge for a young team, but we are confident of turning things around,” Shashikanth said.
In Anand too, rain and wet outfield resulted in the abandonment of the fixture between Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.