Shillong, 17 February (MTNews): Meghalaya is one step away from glory after a peerless performance in the Plate Group of the U-23 men’s Col CK Nayudu Trophy, with the final against Nagaland set to begin on Sunday. The match will take place at the Nagaland Cricket Stadium in Sovima from 9 am.


Meghalaya has had a terrific run this season, winning all six matches so far. The season began on January 7 when they took on Sikkim at the latter’s home ground, winning that contest by 328 runs. That set the tone, with wins following against Manipur (by an innings and 51 runs), Mizoram (by three wickets), Arunachal Pradesh (by 180 runs), Nagaland (by 134 runs), and Mizoram again (by an innings and 107 runs) in the semifinal.

It has been an unprecedented year for Meghalaya, winning all their matches, and the U-23 men have demonstrated great ability and application, which is necessary before they step up to the senior team.

Swastic Chettri (310) and Nishanta Chakraborty (384) have both racked up more than 300 runs each this season, but captain Kevin Christopher tops the state list with 507, placing him 14th in the overall standings nationally. However, it is the bowling that has been of particular note, with Manish Sharma and Abhishek Kumar both claiming a sensational 39 wickets each. Left-arm orthodox spinner Manish has four five-wicket hauls, and fast bowler Abhishek has five. Manish leads in terms of average, getting a wicket every 8.25 runs, while Abhishek’s average is 12.76.

Having already defeated Nagaland at home in the round-robin stage, Meghalaya will have a certain advantage in the final, but Nagaland, on the other hand, will be playing on home turf.

Nagaland has won both matches played at Sovima this season and will want to make it three in a row.

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