Friday, Jan 13, 2023 08:00 [IST]

Last Update: Friday, Jan 13, 2023 02:23 [IST]



Sikkim finish second, to take on Manipur in semis
Lee Yong and Tarun spin home team to innings win over Arunachal; Palzor hits maiden ton
Lee Yong Lepcha picked up his maiden five-wicket haul to back up three hundreds scored by Sikkim batters as the home team beat Arunachal Pradesh by an innings and 258 runs on Thursday in their Ranji Trophy match.
Arunachal lost nine wickets inside 14 overs in the second session Thursday to lose the game with a day and a half to spare. It was Sikkim's biggest win by an innings since it started playing Indian domestic cricket in 2018-19.
Arunachal had conceded a first innings lead of 319 runs and none managed to stick around in their second essay as right-arm off-spinner Lee Yong Lepcha and leg-spinner Tarun Sharma ran through the visitor's batting to bowl them out for 61 runs in 26 overs.
Lee Yong, who began his career as a top order batsman but now leads the home team's spin department, started off his spell with a wicket from his very second delivery. Thirty-five deliveries later, he had a bowling figures of 5-17, including the all-important wicket of Arunachal's guest player Rahul Dalal, who had hammered Sikkim bowlers for 147 runs in the first innings.
Tarun was equally brilliant. The young leg-spinner grabbed four wickets for 16 runs. It was his second four-fer in five matches.
Earlier, Palzor Tamang guided Sikkim to 319-run first innings lead with a brilliant batting display to register his maiden ton.
The all-rounder resumed the day on 78 and finished with 106 to become the third home-grown player to record a First Class century. He faced 142 deliveries hitting 12 fours and two sixes.
He was the third Sikkim batsman to score a century in the innings after Ashish Thapa (150) and Sumit Singh (133). Palzor, who also grabbed four wickets in the first innings, was named Man of the Match for his all-round effort.
Sikkim's total of 532 is its highest this season so far and is within the top-5 in its history. Sikkim won the match by a margin few had expected.
“We knew Sikkim would perform well in their home ground but we never expected to lose like this," said Arunachal captain Suraj Tayam after the match. He blamed the team’s batting failure for the defeat.
Sikkim skipper Ashish Thapa said: "The huge first innings lead gave leverage to our bowlers, they were confident. The spinners got us nine wickets today which is a big achievement for us.  Lee Yong took five wickets and Tarun supported well. I am so happy for both of them."
With almost all players getting runs or wickets in the tournament, Ashish said the team’s morale was high. "In the matches we have played so far there were different heroes, different performers who stood up for the team and won matches for us. By the end of the last league match, everyone has performances on their back and I think the boys are really confident."
“I also would like to thank the unsung heroes, who are always behind the team, give us confidence and belief to perform. Our head coach, Atul Sir (Giakwad) always motivates us and encourages us to always think about the game. Some of us grew up playing under Amos Sir who supports us in each and every situation. Thank you to Satish Reddy Sir (strength and conditioning coach) for always keeping us fit and agile for the games and equally Ardon Targain Sir (physiotherapist). Not to forget, Manager Sir (Ravi Thapa) who has been taking care of our each and every detail and complaints without any hesitation,” added Ashish who had played a captain’s knock on Wednesday, registering his second 150 plus score. In the process, he also became the first local player to reach the 1000-run mark in First Class cricket.
Ashish further said: "I am very happy to reach the 1000-run milestone. It took me a very long time. Outside, you would probably get sacked if you take as many innings as I took to score 1000 runs (guffaws!). But I am obviously happy to score runs and will try to carry the momentum in the next two matches as well.”
Four days from today, the semi-finals of the Ranji Plate division will take place. While group toppers Meghalaya and fourth-placed Bihar will face in one semi-final, Sikkim will take on Manipur in the other at the latter’s adopted home ground in Ahmedabad.
If Sikkim wins, they will qualify for the Elite group and play their final at home.
Ashish said the Sikkim team was confident about their semi-final clash against Manipur, having won convincingly against Manipur in the league stage. "We know the Manipur team very well, we are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. We will plan accordingly for the semi-final match against them. We are confident of the semi-final clash and as a team we are gelling up nicely and our bond will grow stronger and we will keep improving our performance,” he signed off.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi