TNPL 2019: Raju, Periyaswamy seal Gillies’ berth in final

Dragons squander solid start, fall short by five runs in the first qualifier.

V. Ganga Sridhar Raju’s aggressive 81 at the top of the order powered Super Gillies to a match-winning total.   -  A SHAIKMOHIDEEN

Riding on V. Ganga Sridhar Raju’s assault at the top of the innings and G. Periyaswamy’s brilliant spell at the death, Chepauk Super Gillies got the better of Dindigul Dragons by five runs in the first qualifier on Sunday here at the India Cements ground to reach the final of the Sankar Cement-TNPL for the third time in four years.

Chasing 170 for a win, openers N. Jagadeesan and C. Hari Nishanth (opening stand of 64) gave a solid start and Dragons looked good till the 13th over, with R. Ashwin and R. Vivek steadying things for the final flourish.

But from there on, the team kept losing wickets and, after Vivek was run out, Periyaswamy came back to pick three wickets for 11 runs in his last two overs, bowling some incisive yorkers that put the game beyond Dragons.

Brilliant knock

Earlier, electing to bat on a wicket that seemed much better for batting compared to the last three matchdays here, Gillies’ diminutive opener Ganga Sridhar stood tall when it mattered with a brilliant 81 (54b, 12x4, 2x6).

He gave hints of his intentions right from the start, but was lucky initially with a top-edged pull going for a six over fine leg and another edge going through slips.

But the left-handed batsman soon started to find his range and was not afraid to clear the infield as he punished pacers R. Rohit and M. Mohammed with a flurry of boundaries and raced to 40 by the end of the PowerPlay, with seven fours and a six.

After a 67-run opening-wicket partnership with K.H. Gopinath, Gillies lost three quick wickets before U. Sasidev and Raju rebuilt the innings with the latter going for his shots with conviction and getting boundaries.

Just as he was nearing his ton, Raju premeditated for the first time, going for the reverse-sweep and was bowled by left-arm spinner M. Silambarasan.

Panthers down Veerans

In the second match of the day - the eliminator - defending champion Siechem Madurai Panthers defeated VB Kanchi Veerans in a nail-biting finish to keep its title defence on track.

Panthers will take on Dindigul Dragons in the second qualifier on Tuesday at NPR College ground in Natham, Dindigul. Chasing 152 to win, KB Arun Karthick led the way with a 39-ball 64 (7x4, 2x6).  Earlier electing to bat, Veerans made a competitive 151 for six largely thanks to R. Sanjay Yadav’s swashbuckling unbeaten 77 (52b, 6x4, 4x6) after struggling at 60 for five in the 11th over. 

However, Sanjay Yadav couldn't defend 14 off the last over with J. Kousik hitting a six and four in the last over.  

The scores: Chepauk Super Gillies 169 for seven in 20 overs (V. Ganga Sridhar Raju 81, U. Sasidev 26, C. Hari Nishanth two for 16, B. Praanesh two for 33) bt Dindigul Dragons 164 for seven in 20 overs (N. Jagadeesan 37, C. Hari Nishanth 29, G. Periyaswamy three for 27).

VB Kanchi Veerans 151 for six in 20 overs (R. Sanjay Yadav 77 n.o., R.S. Mokit Hariharan 25, Abhishek Tanwar two for 32, Rahil Shah two for 48) lost to Siechem Madurai Panthers 152 for five in 20 overs (K.B. Arun Karthick 64, J. Kousik 26 n.o.).