Principal Correspondent :
Vid score 549-3 against Manipur on opening day of Cooch Behar Trophy
Vidarbha batters toyed with minnows Manipur bowlers as they scored a whopping 549 runs on the opening day of their Cooch Behar Trophy at Vidarbha Cricket Association’s Kalamna Stadium. Neel Athaley and Danish Malewar created a record for Vidarbha as they scored a doule century each on the opening day of the match. It was once again opener Neel Athaley who showed his skills and temperament to score an unbeaten 251 runs. The opener had scored a century (126) against Maharashtra in the last’s year’s quarter-final at Kolkata. Continuing from where he left in this tournament, Athaley and another double centurion Danish Malewar (262) stitched a partnership of 465 runs for the third wicket as Manipur bowlers toiled hard in search of a wicket. Both Athaley and Malewar were at their destructive best as they scored runs at a healthy rate. Malewar played in a T20 mode as he slammed 262 from just 204 deliveries and slammed 34 boundaries and eight hits over the ropes. Athaley played a patient knock of 251 from 289 deliveries but punished bad deliveries with boundaries.
The talented batter’s undefeated innings is laced with 35 balls to the fence. Manipur’s decision to bowl first backfired as Vidarbha dominated the day’s play from the first over. Athaley and Tushar Suryawanshi (13) added 28 runs for the opening wicket. Manipur bowlers had smiles on their faces when they got Vidarbha captain Mohd Faiz (5) cheaply as the hosts were 51 for 2 from 13.2 overs. But that was limited for a brief period as Athaley and Malewar joined hands to first resurrect the innings and then dominated the day. Malewar was unlucky as he fell at the fag end of the day being caught by Somokanta and bowled by Lairenjam Ansh Singh in the 84th over. But by that time, Vidarbha were already in the driver’s seat. Brief scores: Vid: 549-3 (N Athaley 251*, D Malewar 262; L Singh 89-2) against Manipur.