TNPL 2018: Super Gillies on the brink of elimination after fourth successive defeat
For the fourth time this season, defending champions Chepauk Super Gillies were asked to chase and for the fourth successive time, they failed to do so and that leaves them on the brink of elimination from TNPL 2018. This time around, Lyca Kovai Kings were the benefactors as they registered their third win and boosted their hopes of qualifying for the playoff on the back of a fifty from Shahrukh Khan and a team effort with the ball.
Chasing 157 for victory, Super Gillies lost four wickets inside the powerplay and their chase was pretty much over before it began. The only bright spot was that Gopinath crossed 600 runs in TNPL during his brief stay at the crease. Despite a 40-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Sasidev and M Ashwin, the chase never really got going.
It was Ashwin, who was dropped twice that was the sole piece of resistance as far as the Super Gillies batsmen were concerned but even he couldn't do it all alone as they comfortably fell short of the target by 53 runs.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Kovai Kings openers Abhinav Mukund and Shahrukh Khan set the ideal platform. The brought up 50 inside the powerplay and put on 90 for the opening wicket before the captain's stumps were castled in the 12th over.
By that point, Kovai Kings were already in a strong position and Shahrukh was on course for another fifty. That came off the first ball of the 13th over as he registered back-to-back fifties in this year's competition and also became the leading run-getter in TNPL 2018.
Despite a middle-order collapse triggered by Super Gillies' spin trio, who picked up four wickets in the space of 10 balls, a late cameo by Antony Dhas helped the Kovai Kings cross 150 on a pitch that has offered nothing for the pacers but plenty of assistance for the spinners and that turned out to be a match-winning total as Kovai's spinners ran riot.
Turning point: It was over before all it began for the Super Gillies. If two wickets in the first two overs set the tone then two wickets of the last two overs of the powerplay all but sealed the deal and put the defending champions firmly on the back foot.
Brief scores: Lyca Kovai Kings 158/6 in 20 overs (Shahrukh Khan 59, Antony Dhas 28, B Arun 2/24, S Harish Kumar 2/37) beat Chepauk Super Gillies 105 all out in 18 overs (M Ashwin 36, U Sasidev 23, S Manigandan 3/21, T Natarajan 2/11) by 53 runs.