TNPL 2018: Lyca Kovai Kings thrash Karaikudi Kaalai to advance to the second qualifier
It was an all too familiar feeling for Karaikudi Kaalai as they lost to Lyca Kovai Kings in the eliminator for the second successive season. This time around, Kaalai's defeat came as a result of a gritty fifty from Abhinav Mukund and an excellent initial burst from K Vignesh, who ran through the Karaikudi top-order and finished with his career-best TNPL figures.
Kovai Kings' victory over Karaikudi Kaalai in the eliminator now means that they will face Siechem Madurai Panthers in the second qualifier at the NPR College Ground in Dindigul on Friday (August 9). The 24-run win also extended Kovai's winning streak over Karaikudi to four.
Chasing 138 on a tricky wicket needed a good start. But Kaalai lost skipper Anirudha Srikkanth in the third over and then lost half their side inside the seventh over as they crumbled under a spell of hostile pace bowling from K Vignesh. At the end of the powerplay, Kaalai managed just 29/4 and at the halfway stage, they were struggling at 50/6.
Slowly but surely the loss of wickets at regular intervals and lack of boundaries on a consistent basis cost them a chance at progressing any further in TNPL 2018 despite late cameos from Kishan Kumar and Maan Bafna. T Natarajan finished with his best figures of the season as he cleaned up the tail to finish with figures of 4/24.
After being put into bat, Kovai Kings never really got going on a pitch that didn't seem to have too many demons. The side's leading run-getter, Shahrukh Khan had a rare off day but captain Mukund took it upon himself to shoulder the responsibility of run scoring.
While wickets were falling at regular intervals at the other end, Mukund got to his fifty with a six, even if he didn't look completely at ease. His gritty fifty came off 43 balls but just when it looked it he would kick on, he was run-out, attempting a second after a wild throw from the deep.
Rajkumar then decided to run through Kovai's lower middle-order but a few boundaries off the bat of R Mithun and S Ajith Ram meant that Kovai finished with 137/8 in their 20 overs. Thanks to Vignesh's early burst that was enough for Kovai to set up a meeting with Madurai for a chance to qualify for the TNPL 2018 final.
Brief Scores: Lyca Kovai Kings 137/8 in 20 overs (Abhinav Mukund 51, R Rajkumar 4/30, S Kishan Kumar 2/27) beat iDream Karaikudi Kaalai 113 all out in 19.4 overs (Maan Bafna 33, Kishan Kumar 25, T Natarajan 4/24, K Vignesh 3/19) by 24 runs.
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