TNPL 2018: Defending champions Chepauk Super Gillies lose three in a row
Defending champions Chepauk Super Gillies were asked to chase for the third time in TNPL 2018 and for the third time this tournament, they failed to do so as they lost to Karaikudi Kaalai by 47 runs at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai. Kaalai captain Anirudha Srikkanth brought up his second successive fifty and the bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals to give them their second win of the tournament.
Chasing 194 for victory, Super Gillies needed to get off to a flyer but they lost both openers early. U Sasidev and captain Gopinath put on 55 for the third wicket but the former got out at just the wrong time for the Super Gillies. And every time they looked as though they were on track, Kaalai kept picking up wickets and once Gopinath was dismissed for 47, the game was all but over.
A late cameo from Murugan Ashwin helped the Super Gillies inch closer to the target but that merely delayed the inevitable as the Kaalai registered a comprehensive win over the defending champions.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Kaalai got off to the perfect start as the openers put on fifty partnership and were still batting at the end of the powerplay. If the first half of the innings belonged to skipper Anirudha Srikkanth, the second half belonged to Shajahan.
Srikkanth got his side off to the perfect start as he made it back-to-back fifties in this year's TNPL and also became this edition's leading run-getter in the process. He brought up his fifty off 25 balls and although he seemed to be struggling with an injury that restricted his running between the wickets, he continued to score boundaries at will.
And the main reason behind their big total was Shajahan who was caught and bowled off a no ball, the first ball he faced and then proceeded to make the most of his luck. Although he didn't score a fifty, his 20-ball 43 that included two fours and four sixes helped provide the final flourish as the Kaalai posted 193, which eventually turned out to be too much for the defending champions to chase.
Turning point: R Alexander took a simple return catch to get rid of Shajahan first ball but the only problem was that he overstepped. And instead it being two wickets in two balls, the southpaw got a reprieve and he made the most of it as Kaalai posted a match-winning total.
Brief scores: iDream Karaikudi Kaalai 193/5 in 20 overs (Anirudha Srikkanth 56, M Shajahan 43*, B Arun 2/29, S Harish Kumar 2/36) beat Chepauk Super Gillies 146/6 in 20 overs (Gopinath 47, M Ashwin 33*, Yo Mahesh 1/21) by 47 runs.
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