Gangtok: Sikkim’s maiden entry into Ranji Trophy ended on a happy note after they beat Arunachal Pradesh by 10 wickets in Goalpara, Assam on Wednesday, thereby securing the fifth position in the domestic first-class cricket championship.
During the recently-concluded season, Sikkim won matches against Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, drew against Meghalaya and lost to Bihar, Puducherry and Uttarakhand.
On Wednesday, after winning the toss, Sikkim elected to field first. With disciplined bowling attack, Sikkim restricted Arunachal Pradesh to a paltry 169 runs.
Milind Kumar took five wickets, while three wickets were scalped by Ishwar Chaudhary. Bipul Sharma and Lee Yong Lepcha took one wicket each.
Sikkim closed their first innings with 262 on the board taking a lead of 93 runs.
Sikkim all-rounder Lee Yong scored his first first-class half century, 58 runs in 105 balls while Milind Kumar scored his fifth of the season, a blistering 51 runs in just 44 balls. Bibek Diyali, Bipul Sharma, Jahan Uddin and Karma Bhutia and Ashish Thapa also contributed to Sikkim’s first-innings total of 262.
Sikkim displayed another brilliant bowling performance to restrict Arunachal to 109 runs, where Ishwar took seven wickets.
With 16 runs needed for win, Milind smashed four boundaries in the Sikkim innings of nine balls to win the match and the wrap up the season on day-3 of the four-day match.
Ishwar Chaudhary, for his 10-wicket haul in the match, was adjudged Man of the Match.
Notably, Chaudhary, the leading bowler of Sikkim team, took 51 wickets and is at third position of most wickets taken by the bowlers of this season of Ranji Trophy.
He grabbed five 5-wicket hauls and took 10 wickets in a match twice.
The batting department was led by Milind Kumar who is at number two on the all-time list of batsmen with most runs in a Ranji Trophy season.
With 1,331 runs in eight matches this season, he is the top scorer of this season so far. Second-placed Punit Bisht of Meghalaya is 432 runs behind.
Milind scored six centuries and also held a record for most fours in a season.
Sikkim will next play Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, a Twenty20 domestic cricket championship.
Captain Nilesh Lamichaney has thanked Sikkim Cricket Association for the opportunity and has added that it’s a proud moment for all Sikkimese.