Silchar DSA organised Narayan Paul memorial Super Division Cricket has come to an end. The top division cricket tournament started in December last year where six teams tussled it out among themselves in a round-robin format. The final match will be played under floodlights at Satindra Mohan Dev Stadium on January 10, 2020.
From the six – India Club, Town Club, United Club and Ikhola qualified for the semi-finals. Yogayog Sangha and Club Oasis could not. United Club defeated India Club in the semi-finals to book a berth in the final whereas, Town Club dominated in their match against Ikhola and stormed through to fight for the championship.
United Club is the defending champion however, Town Club has not lost a single match in this tournament. Led by all-rounder Samik Das (earlier by Abhishek Thakuri) Town Club’s biggest strength is its team effort. In each match, the team had a different match-winner. Town Club was under pressure as its captain – wicketkeeper-batsman, Abhishek Thakuri had to leave midway to participate in the state team’s camp. He will now play for Assam in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy.
“Our bench strength came into action. The management trusted players with responsibilities and the players lived up to expectation. We did not get much time together before the tournament but once it started, we got along well and that has been our strength,” said captain Samik Das while speaking with Barak Bulletin before the final.
He has Ranji Players, state players, senior district players in his team. “It is an honour for me to captain a team that has players like Shubam Mandal in it. Shubam plays Ranji for the Assam, but when he pulls on the Town Club jersey, you ask him to guard the boundary lines, he runs to his position. The exhibition of sportsman spirit by him and all other members of the team has been phenomenal,” Das adds.
If Town Club’s road to the finale was a cake-walk, United had to sweat it out. Led by wicket-keeper Masarob Hussain, the team faced many roadblocks. In its first match, United Club’s batsmen crumbled like a house of cards against Dibakor Johri of Town Club, the fast bowler who has impressed captain Das the most. United’s strength, its top-order showed sparks of brilliance but remained ordinary otherwise. The few sublimes and many sorries had cast a shadow of uncertainty over United’s qualification to the finals.
Captain Masarob is known for withstanding many storms, the experienced cricketer has seen many highs and lows in his career and therefore knows the formula of ‘comeback’. India Club had defeated United Club in the league rounds in a low-scoring match. Another veteran, Rehan Jomail Mazumdar led India Club to victory after winning the mind game on the ground. But it was Masarob with the last smile in the semis.
Chasing 146, United won against India Club by five wickets. “Our batting order is our strength and we will stick to the order we have followed in this tournament,” asserts Masarob Hussain ruling out any changes in the opening partnership. The best batsman of last year Raju Das opens the innings with Pradip Sarkar for United. “To get their wicket early will be critical for Town Club,” believes Samik Das.
However, Masarob feels the trump card for United Club this season has been Sukanta Dey. The right-arm off-spinner contributed with both bat and ball. In a team with Raju Das, Pradip Sarkar who scored a century, Sukanta Dey rose like a phoenix. He scored a match-winning 59 in the semi-final and the opponent will keep an eye on him in the final. “I feel most of the teams underestimated his potential and took him lightly. That is what cost them, we will remain cautious,” said Town Club captain.
The match will start at 12:00 noon and an innings will be played under the floodlights in Satindra Mohan Dev Stadium. The anticipation is high, at stake is the biggest cricket championship of the district. Both teams have champion players and will go all guns blazing to win the tournament. “Toss will be critical,” opines Masarob. “I hope I lose the toss and don’t have to make a decision,” jokes Samik Das. He adds, “We are not accustomed to playing under lights. There will be a dew factor too and the team with spinners will have a problem gripping the ball. I don’t want to plan too far, we will see as we proceed.” Masarob Hussain is clear, he is eyeing 200 plus if batting first and has set a target to restrict Town Club below 150 if fielding.
Overall, it is a match that will offer good cricket and the atmosphere will provide a rejoicing experience to the spectators. The gates will remain open for the audience to walk in free and watch the match under the lights.