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Morung Express News
Dimapur | December 25
Rongsen Jonathan presented cricket fans in Nagaland with the perfect Christmas gift as the skipper played a sublime captain’s knock to become the first cricketer from the state to score a first-class hundred.
His century was the silver lining for the state’s team despite losing to Bihar by a massive 273-run on the Day-4 of their Ranji Trophy Plate Group encounter at Moin-ul-Haq Stadium, Patna on December 25.
“The first Cricketer from Nagaland to score a First Class Hundred. Century against Bihar in Ranji Trophy today. Many more to come…” the Nagaland Cricket Association posted on its Facebook congratulating the skipper.
Also Jonathan Rongsen Longkumer, the 32-year old right-hand batsman has been consistent throughout this Ranji trophy season producing one century and 7 half-centuries in the process. As a right-arm medium pacer, his wicket haul stands at 3 this season.
A native of Akhoya village in Mokokchung district, incidentally, Rongsen made his first-class debut with Railways playing against Bihar on December 6-9, 2013.
According to his profile in espncricinfo.com, since then, his first-class match stats read: 13 matches, 697 runs with an average of 31.68 runs.
Thereafter, he has been associated with India, Railways, Central Zone, Belagavi Panthers, Mysuru Warriors, Shivamogga Lions, Nagaland as per cricbuzz.com profile. He transferred from Railways to Nagaland in 2018.
Rongsen made his T20s debut playing for Karnataka against Goa at Visakhapatnam on September 25, 2009. He was one of the most expensive players of Karnataka Premier League 2016.
Talking to a local daily in 2016, Rongsen informed that his family left Nagaland when his father went to pursue his PhD in theology in 1997 at Bengaluru.
“I started playing cricket when I was in the 4th standard. Cricket was one of my hobbies as a kid growing up in Bangalore,” he added.
Notwithstanding, the academic interest generated by the record, the match against Bihar took a complete turn for Nagaland between the first and second innings.
While a tight bowling restricted Bihar to 150 runs in the first innings resulting in a 49 runs leads Nagaland, the scorecard in the 2nd innings reversed completely.
As the visitors could not repeat their previous bowling feat, Bihar consolidated their position on Day 2, eventually declaring the match next day with a massive 2nd innings total of 505/8 – setting a 446 target for Nagaland.
In reply, Nagaland’s batting line-up collapsed and despite the gritty display the skipper, they were tottering at 112/7 at stumps on Day-3 on December 24.
Resuming on 112/7 on Tuesday, Nagaland lost Inakato Zhimomi (18) in the fourth ball of the day, reported PTI news agency.
Skipper Rongsen, who was batting on 57 overnight, found fine support from Rachit Bhatia (17) as the duo put on 53 runs for the ninth wicket before Ashutosh Aman broke the partnership, it said.
He completed his century in 112 deliveries, only to be trapped leg before wicket off the next ball, with Aman racing to another five-wicket haul. Nagaland folded for 173 in their tall pursuit of 446, it added.
Aman, the left-arm spinner, was declared the Man-of-the-match with the match haul of 12 wickets.
This was Bihar’s fourth win from six matches, and they now have 27 points, 10 points behind leaders Uttarakhand, who have played one more match.
With December 25 result, Nagaland has 1 win, 1 draw and 4 losses from six matches.
For their 7th match, Nagaland will host Arunachal Pradesh at Nagaland Cricket Stadium, Sovima, Dimapur from December 30, 2018, to January 2, 2019.
Nagaland’s last encounter for the season is against Puducherry from January 7-10, 2019 at Cricket Association Puducherry Siechem Ground, Puducherry.
Table toppers of the Plate Division will qualify for the quarter-finals starting January 15.