Dindigul Dragons vaulted to the top of the points table by putting in a comprehensive performance against VB Kanchi Veerans. At their familiar base in NPR College Ground, the hosts rode on their collective batting might to cruise to a seven-wicket triumph.
After winning the toss, Dindigul chose to chase. Skipper Narayan Jagadeesan's decision was vindicated when his new-ball bowlers began to place Kanchi Veerans under significant pressure. The visitors got themselves off to a woeful start as a needless run-out caused the end of opener Vishal Vaidya.
Kanchi Veerans captain Baba Aparajith faltered badly under heightened expectations. He laboured to an 8-ball 1 before attempting a wild slog early in the innings. Their woes were aggravated when they lost a couple more wickets in the final over of the Power Play.
At the end of the first six overs, Veerans found themselves in a seemingly hopeless position at 27/4. However, Mokit Hariharan and Francis Rokins revived the innings by gradually building a meaningful partnership.
Aside from landing a six each, Hariharan and Rokins were understandably cautious through the middle-overs. The first semblance of aggression came when the latter started to target the part-time leg-spin of Mohan Abhinav.
The last two overs turned out to be remarkably profitable for the batting team. Hariharan and Rokins punished the wayward medium pace duo of M Mohammed and Jagannathan Kaushik. From being at 119 at the end of the 18th over, Kanchi Veerans finished at a healthy total of 166.
Hari Nishanth kickstarted the run-chase by laying into Veerans' bowlers in the Power Play. Even as fellow opener Jagadeesan took his time before finding his rhythm, he got into the groove right from the very first over of Dindigul's innings.
By the time Nishanth was dismissed, he had made 50 of Dindigul's 59 runs. Jagadeesan proceeded to play the anchor role. The skipper kept the scoreboard ticking by deftly manoeuvring the strike. He found an able ally in southpaw Balachander Anirudh.
The pursuit appeared to get slightly tricky when Jagadeesan and Anirudh fell in successive overs. Coming into the crease at a discomforting required run-rate of 10.36, NS Chaturved took the game by the scruff of its neck. The hard-hitting right-hander produced an unbeaten 17-ball 41 to propel the Dragons to victory.
Turning Point: While Hari Nishanth's rapid fifty at the top of the order allowed them to take control of the run-chase, Dindigul Dragons' surge to victory was sealed by NS Chaturved towards the end of the game. Were it not for the right-hander's blazing cameo, things could have become considerably tighter at the death overs.
Brief Scores: VB Kanchi Veerans - 166/4 from 20 overs (Mokit Hariharan 77*, Francis Rokins 64*, Yazh Arun Mozhi 2/24); Dindigul Dragons - 171/3 from 19.1 overs (Hari Nishanth 50, NS Chaturved 41*, Narayan Jagadeesan 41, Aushik Srinivas 1/23)
Result: Dindigul Dragons won by seven wickets with five balls to spare
For more on TNPL, log on to www.tnca.inPublished 22 Jul 2018, 23:41 IST