The opening match of the 2018 BCCBT20 Cup was played between Dragon Strikers, the defending champions and Thimphu Young Stars, the newly registered team. Dragon Strikers consisted of familiar faces from their last year’s participation, with two foreign players. Ikrmul Ali and Asif Washima from Guwahati, Assam making their second stint in BCCBT20 Cup.
The defending champions are led by a highly rated and experienced Bhutan National Player Kumar Subba, who recently achieved a milestone representing Bhutan and winning the ACC Asian Eastern Region T20 that was held in Thailand. With his leadership in the team, and having already won the BCCBT20 Cup in the previous year, Dragon Strikers are looking great again having started really well in the opening match. On the other side, Thimphu Young Stars consisted of players who are mostly under the age of 17 and have played for Thimphu District tournament in the U-16 category in District Tournament. And it is their first time ever participating in a major domestic tournament in Bhutan apart from District tournament. What the Thimphu Young Stars have in them is energy, excitement, and determination to do well in any given match and this team could upset a few teams in the league round.
Toss was won by Thimphu Young Stars and have opted to field first. Putting Dragon Strikers to bat, Dragon Strikers set a mammoth total of 245 runs in 20 overs with a loss of only 3 wickets. Kencho Norbu was the highest scorer from Dragon Strikers with 73 runs not out in 42 balls, followed by Ikrmul Ali with a quick 68 runs in just 26 balls. Kencho was dropped at 8 and was troubled by the bowlers in his early stage, and so was Ikrmul Ali dropped in his early stage by the wicket keeper. With more than 10 catches dropped (some difficult ones and some really easy ones) Dragon Strikers took advantage of the fortunes and took the team total to a mammoth 245 runs. Nishan Mongar from Thimphu Young Stars bowled 2 overs and took a wicket and a few others bowled too and shared a wicket each. Now that Dragon Strikers had set a huge target for the young guns, Thimphu Young Stars were seen to be in no rush, starting their innings slow and steadily. At one stage, in their 14th over, the young guns were 46 runs with no loss of wicket.
They only had one intention and that was to play the full 20 overs and gain as much experience as they can from their first game because winning the game seemed impossible considering their situation and batting line up. At the end of second innings, Thimphu Young Stars managed to score 78 runs with loss of 6 wickets, losing the game to the defending champions by 167 runs. From the second innings, Nishan Mongar and Jigdrel Wangchuk scored 27 and 24 runs respectively for Thimphu Young Stars and, Kencho Norbu and Rajit Raika took 4 wickets, 2 wickets each, with an economy under 5 per over. Kencho Norbu was declared as the Tashicell Man of the Match for his outstanding 73 runs not out and 2 wickets from his bowling spell.
With the opening match done and dusted, we have witnessed some good young bowlers from Thimphu Young Stars and their commitment to game, and also the foreign-player factor which looks to play a huge role for the teams (in this case for Dragon Strikers) in this BCCBT20 Cup 2018 tournament.
– Jigme Singye