Tirunelveli, July 28: Chepauk Super Kings turned in another clinical performance to record their third successive victory in the 4th Sankar Cement Tamil Nadu Twenty20 Premier League (TNPL), defeating Lyca Kovai Kings by nine wickets at the India Cements Limited - Sankar Nagar ground,
Medium-pacer S Harish Kumar (4-13) and leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin (2-11) stifled the Kovai Kings, restricting them to 115-9 in 20 overs. Opener KH Gopinath then made short work of the target smashing 82 runs in 41 balls (10 fours, 4 sixes) during a rollicking first-wicket stand of 106 runs in 72 balls with left-handed Ganga Sridhar Raju (31 not out off 35 balls, 3 fours).
While Raju played the sheet anchor role to perfection, Gopinath waded into the rival attack with lusty hits. He was very severe on Antony Dhas picking 24 runs off 11 balls that he faced from the medium-pacer carting two sixes and two fours.
It was the second century partnership by the CSG pair of Raju and Gopinath following their 108-run alliance against iDream Karaikudi Kaalai, two days ago. Gopinath, who notched his second fifty-plus score, now leads the run-getters tally of the season with 178 runs. He is ahead of Dindigul Dragons’ Narayan Jagadeesan (157) by 21 runs.
CSG, easily the best fielding unit of the season, completely dominated the game to rise to the top of the eight-team standings. They top the league with six points from four games.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, Lyca Kovai Kings started off well scoring 43 runs without losing a wicket in the first seven overs but once Harish Kumar came on to bowl, the LKK innings began to wobble. The 29-year-old Chennai bowler claimed his first wicket when opener Shahrukh Khan (22 off 23 balls, 2 fours) miscued a full-length delivery high for CSG captain Kaushik Gandhi to pouch.
In the next over, Harish dented LKK further with a double strike. LKK No.3 Malolan Rangarajan (2) mistimed a pull off a short ball that ballooned into deep midwicket fielder Ramadoss Alexandar’s hands. He then came up with a superb catch off his own bowling to send back LKK captain Abhinav Mukund (22 off 29 balls, 3 fours) after the batsman had chipped a full-length ball back to the bowler.
With CSG on the ascendancy, it was left to Anirudh Sita Ram (15 off 18 balls) and wicketkeeper Pradosh Ranjan Paul (17 off 11 balls, 2 sixes) to rebuild the innings. They did well to add 35 runs in 24 balls before another excellence in the field by CSG ended that alliance. Paul tried to test G Periyasamy’s throw after scooping off-spinner B Arun to the fast bowler fielding at fine leg. He rifled an accurate throw to wicketkeeper A Arif, who whipped off the bails with Paul inches short of the crease.
Thereafter it was a steady procession of batsmen to the pavilion as CSG tightened the screws further. Murugan Ashwin, who had been having an ordinary tournament so far, stepped up by claiming two wickets in his final over, that was also a maiden. He first trapped dangerman Antony Dhas (4 off 10 balls) and off the next ball, Arif did a smart job of stumping Suresh Babu. Ashwin, who bowled his first maiden in TNPL, returned his best figures of the season 4-1-11-2.
Periyasamy also chipped in two wickets as LKK lost six wickets for 13 runs between the 14th and the 18th overs. Their record of never being bowled out in the league was now in danger as they were reeling at 98-8 after 18 overs. But Akkil Srinaath (18 off 15 balls, 1 four, 1 six) ensured the record remained intact and saw the innings off in the company of tailender Natarajan (2).
In between, Harish added one more wicket to his tally by dismissing Sita Ram for his best haul in TNPL (4-0-13-4). The medium-pacer said he hit a nice rhythm and was delighted everything turned out so well for him and his team. “Actually, confidence level matters to me. I struggled in the last two games and I got my rhythm back in this game and I'm happy about it. I did not want to give away easy runs and bowled to my strength. It’s important to perform when your team needs,” he said.
The next round of matches for both teams will be at the NPR College Ground, Natham, Dindigul on a double-header day on Friday (August 2). Lyca Kovai Kings will meet Siechem Madurai Panthers in the first match of the day while Chepauk Super Gillies will take on VB Kanchi Veerans in the evening match.
Brief scores: Lyca Kovai Kings 115-9 in 20 overs (Shahrukh Khan 22, Abhinav Mukund 22; G Periyasamy 2-23, Murugan Ashwin 2-11, S Harish Kumar 4-13) lost to Chepauk Super Gillies 116-1 in 13.3 overs(Ganga Sridhar Raju 31 not out, KH Gopinath 82; Antony Dhas 1-29) by nine wickets
Toss: LKK, opt to bat
Points:Lyca Kovai Kings 0; Chepauk Super Gillies 2
Umpires:R Rajesh Kannan, M Kuppuraj. TV umpire: M Ashwin Kumar.
Match referee:S Sharath.
Sankar Cement Man of the Match:S Harish Kumar (CSG)
Sankar Cement Maximum 6s:KH Gopinath (CSG)
TCM-Nippon Paint Atom Best All-rounder:KH Gopinath (CSG)
SNJ VSOP Adhiradhi Four:KH Gopinath (CSG)
BKT Tyres Commander of the Match:S Harish Kumar (CSG)
Sprite Juicy+ Refreshing Player:G Periyasamy
TVS Most Valuable Player of the Match:KH Gopinath (CSG)
Sharon Ply Strong Performer of the Match:Murugan Ashwin (CSG)