TNPL 2017: Karaikudi Kaalai take on Lyca Kovai Kings in Eliminator
Karaikudi Kaalai and Lyca Kovai Kings will meet in the Eliminator of the India Cements Ltd TNPL 2017 at the NPR College Grounds, Natham, on Wednesday. The winner will progress to the Qualifier 2, thereby earning a shot at the final of the tournament.
Karaikudi finished in third place, winning four matches and losing three. Kovai, however, made it to the playoffs by the skin of their teeth after two of their seven matches were washed out. Facing a must-win situation in their last two games, they rose to the occasion and finished on eight points. Kovai will take heart from the fact that they beat Karaikudi when the two sides faced off earlier in the tournament.
Karaikudi's openers have given them plenty to cheer about this season with both Vishal Vaidhya and S Aniruda performing well with the bat. Aniruda has scored 208 runs and Vaidhya has contributed 177. In contrast, Badrinath has had a poor tournament this year with just 112 runs, meaning he is due a big knock.
One of the main positives for the Karaikudi side has been the big hitting from M Shajahan. The all-rounder has scored a handy 184 runs and he has done so with the help of mighty sixes. Young Under-19 player Lokeshwar is another good find for the side. Mohan Prasath has been the most economical and accurate bowler for the side and has picked up nine wickets so far. Rajkumar has also got seven wickets. Sonu Yadav and Sunil Sam have proved to be expensive and will hope to be on point in the crucial match.
Kovai were languishing at the bottom of the table for most of the tournament but they seem to have peaked at the right moment. The addition of Murali Vijay to the squad has bolstered their batting. Kovai will hope that Surya Prakash and Anirudh Sita Ram carry on the good work. The duo has scored 333 runs together. Akshay Srinivasan has also scored some handy runs for the side.
Kovai will hope that Syed Mohammed recovers in time for the clash as he is a handy all-rounder. K Vignesh is the leading wicket-taker for the side with seven scalps, while Harish Kumar has also chipped in. Spinners B Arun and Ajith S Ram have also bowled well in tandem. This will be Kovai’s first match in Natham after their last two matches were washed out and they didn’t have a match scheduled here last year.
S Badrinath vs Murali Vijay
The duel between the experienced Badrinath and Vijay will be a treat to watch. How they bat will go a long way in determining the outcome of the match.
Both teams have a solid opening pair. Whenever Vishal Vaidhya and S Anirudha have clicked Karaikudi have succeeded. The same holds true for Kovai as well. And they have M Vijay partnering the in-form L Surya Prakash.
The key for both sides lies in removing the opposition's top order early.
Head to head
Kovai 1, Karaikudi 1
Lyca Kovai Kings beat Karaikudi Kaalai by six wickets in 2017, Karaikudi Kaalai beat Lyca Kovai Kings by 36 runs in 2016