By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, Jan 25: Two semi-finals, two close matches! If Sunday’s match of the Shillong Cricket League 1st Division was to be called a thriller, then today’s match was a nerve-wrecker that saw Nongmensong CC beat a towering Meghalaya Police (MLP) team by 3 wickets.
Nongmensong skipper Arpit Bhatewara (109 not out) exhibited a batting master class, enthralling the audiences with his magnificent strokes. His century off just 84 balls was the eventual difference between the two sides.
Earlier, Nongmensong won the toss and put MLP to bat. They started cautiously with the openers sharing a 27-run partnership. Wallambok Nongkhlaw (50), who was a part of the Meghalaya team that played in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, walked in after the fall of the first wicket.
Nongkhlaw looked well-braced and started to take the Nongmensong bowling apart. He upped the ante and took the team score to over 150. However, he lost his pegs to Bippin Kumar Ray (3/37) at a crucial time.
The police team ended their innings on 171/9 in 35 overs.
In response, Arpit and Manibhushan Thakur (13) started the chase in an overtly defensive manner. Thakur, however, was severe on anything over pitched and drove ferociously.
The MLP bowlers bowled tight lines ensuring that the Nongmensong batsmen were kept under a leash. Nongmensong kept losing wickets at crucial intervals. This forced the new batsmen to continue playing defensive cricket. Morningstar Khongwir with figures of 3/20 was the most successful bowler for MLP.
Arpit, however, timed his innings to perfection and accelerated at the right time. His magnificent innings earned him the Man of the Match award.
Arpit already has a double century registered against his name in the same tournament.