Sikkim Shaft are GPL champions

GPL champions
Sat, Apr 6, 2019

SAMIR NUGO
GANGTOK:
Sikkim Shaft defeated the resolute Black Eagles today to win Gangtok Premier League cricket tournament for the second consecutive time.
Afzal Ansari starred with the bat once again to guide Shaft to a commanding total, and seamers Tashi Bhalla and Mohammed Ronak scuttled Eagles batting line up to register a 55-run win.
Batting first for the third time in a row, the Nilesh Lamichaney-led side scored 194 for loss of seven wickets and bowled out Eagles for 139 to take home the coveted title and stamp their dominance in Sikkim club cricket.
Sikkim Shaft started their innings with the regular pair of Lamichaney and Bikash Sharma. With good bowling attack on the other side, runs were not coming as easily. But the bigger setback for Shaft was losing the start player Lamichaney early in the fourth over, in a cruellest of fashion – hit-wicket.
Lamichaney was batting on four when he went on the back foot to pull a short delivery from Ongdup. It didn’t seem like there was any fault with the shot until Eagles wicket-keeper noted that the bails was on the ground.
Lamichaney, who have had a great tournament with bat, had to settle for four runs, his lowest in the tournament. Soon, Sharma departed.  Medium pacer Rubin bowled Sharman out to compensate his poor start in the best possible manner.
With two wickets down in 6th over, pressure was clearly on Shaft.  But Ashish Thapa (32 runs ) and Binoy Upreti (27) batted responsibly and capitalised on ones and twos before power-hitters Afzal and Ajit came in at number 5 and 7 respectively and revitalized the innings and took the total to 194 runs.
Afzal smashed 51 runs off just 27 balls to register back-to-back fifty in the finals after a 42-ball 80 against Cricket Association of Tathangchen in the semi-final. As many as 40 runs were scored off boundaries.
Sonam Bhutia and Paljor Bhutia took two wickets each for Eagles, Rubin, Ongdup and Mendup Bhutia grabbed a wicket a piece.
After a good batting display, Shaft followed it up with good bowling performance. Rohnak and Dinesh and Tashi put up a disciplined bowling to keep the batsmen at check. Chitiz Tamang was the first one to depart. Wicket-keeper Sharma dived to his right to get hold of an edge off Tashi’s ball. Tashi also got rid of Vijay and Mendup to finish off with 3 for 23 runs from five overs.
Opener Yogesh Subba (52) and Paljor Bhutia (35) were the only batsmen that fared well for Eagles.  Ronak got rid of Paljor and Sishiar Lamichaney in the last over of the innings to emerge as highest wicket taker in the tournament.   
Aftal was adjudged man of the match for the second time in a row, while Nilesh Lamichaney was named player of the tournament.
The GPL this year featured eight teams – Black Eagles, CAT, Islamia XI, Pakyong Rangers, Royal North Brothers Shaft, Singtam Challengers and Gangtok Sledzers – divided into two groups.
The tournament is organised by Shaft Cricket Club annually to develop club cricket culture in the State. The only active cricket tournament has been receiving a good response and the organisers aim to upgrade the tournament with each passing year. The tournament was sponsored by SISCO Bank, Lounge 88 and Pepper Green.
The final was witnessed by Sikkim Cricket Association vice president Sonam Gelay as the chief guest, and Sikkim Armed Police DSP Norbu Sherpa and SCA general secretary Sonam Palden Bhutia as special guests.
 
ROLL OF HONOURS
Man of the Final: Afzal Hussain
Man of the Tournament: Nilesh Lamichaney
Highest Run Scores: Nilesh Lamichaney
Highest Wicket Taker: Mohammad Ronak
Emerging Player Award: Dinesh Dhobi
Best Catch: Bhusan Subba
Fair Play Award: Sledgers


Area: 7096 Sq Km
Capital:Gangtok
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Climate:
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi