A lovely, new venue with hills in the background, a swanky modern pavilion. and a much awaited inaugural game at the quaint SCF ground
However, the TNPL match itself proved rather one-sided, despite a sensational act of fielding by G. Kishoor towards the end.
He covered plenty of ground and held a low stunner on the run at full speed as U. Sasidev pulled one.
But then, Chepauk Super Gillies skipper Kaushik Gandhi (46), N. Jagadeesan (39) and Sonu Yadav, who biffed a seven-ball 26 with three sixes, ran away with the game, making light of Salem Spartans' target of 114.
Kaushik, a compact batter, cover-drove with aplomb, and Jagadeesan cut with panache. Sonu delivered the big hits.
Earlier, Manimaran Siddharth impressed. His USP is the arm-ball. It is this delivery that skids off the pitch quicker and straighter to catch the batsman in front, that has given Siddharth’s bowling the cutting edge.
Bowling with control and incision, Siddharth changed the game’s course in the innings’ fifth over.
He bowls straight so if to take a swipe and miss, he hits. Spartans opener Jafar Jamal found this the hard way.
The next Siddharth delivery turned away from the tentative Akshay Srinivasan, who was smartly caught behind by Jagadeesan.
Daryl Ferrario survived the hat-trick ball but later in the dramatic over, pushed forward without conviction to fatally edge a fuller ball on the off-stump.
With three for 13 from four overs, Siddharth’s game changing ability came to the fore.
Only opener H. Gopinath (42) batted with any purpose after the Spartans were inserted. When paceman Sandeep Warrior gave him width, he was slashed for a boundary and a six over point. And left-arm spinner R. Alexander was gloriously lofted over covers. When Gopinath, down the track, holed out at long-off off Alexander, the Spartans innings was in a mess .
S. Abhishek and skipper M. Ashwin struck some handy blows to take the total beyond 100 but it was never going to be enough.
Scores: Salem Spartans 113 for six in 20 overs (H. Gopinath 42, M. Siddharth three for 13) lost to Chepauk Super Gillies 117 for three in 14.3 overs (Kaushik Gandhi 46, N. Jagadeesan 39, Sonu Yadav 26 not out): Player of the Match: M. Siddharth.