Marauding Washington catapults Patriots into TNPL final

Albert Tuti Patriots stormed into its second successive Tamil Nadu Premier League final with an eight-wicket win powered by Washington Sundar’s 15-ball half-century (73 not out, 36b, 8x4, 4x6) and two wickets.

Washington Sundar of Albert Tuti Patriots in full flow against Chepauk Super Gillies at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday.   -  K. Pichumani

In the end, it seemed like witnessing a helpless little fawn being run over by a monster truck on a motorway. Chepauk Super Gillies, on its home ground, had nowhere to go, no prolonged moments to show that it was in the contest.

Albert Tuti Patriots entered — no, strike that — the Patriots stormed into its second successive Tamil Nadu Premier League final with an eight-wicket win powered by Washington Sundar’s 15-ball half-century (73 not out, 36b, 8x4, 4x6) and two wickets.

That the Patriots would win this match, quite a few would’ve predicted, given its unbeaten run in the tournament and a 3-0 head-to-head record against the Super Gillies. But this was barbecuing a team in its own backyard.

The toss was among the very few things that the Super Gillies got right on Tuesday evening. But, on a venue where the team batting first has only won once (Tuti Patriots) out of the previous six games this season, skipper R. Satish chose to put his team in.

Perhaps daunted by its opposition’s fearsome batting line-up and its quick scoring-rate, the Super Gillies batters looked to charge from the start. But the aggression, on many occasions, was reckless. And, this led to a setback — at the end of Powerplay, Super Gillies had only made 37 for two.

Facing his third ball, off Athisayaraj Davidson, K.H. Gopinath, trying to loft the ball that was going away, miscued it to Aswin Crist at mid-off.

Similarly dismissed by the same bowler was Thalaivan Sargunam, who tried to bludgeon a ball that rose a tad too high for his liking. The catch, this time, was taken by Aushik Srinivas at mid-on. The dismissals that went to Athisayaraj were set up by Ganesh Moorthi, whose first two overs went for only eight runs.

To recuperate the innings arrived wicket-keeper S. Karthik (33, 26b), who hit his second and third balls for a four and a six, respectively. Super Gillies, despite the fall of two quick wickets, wanted a swift scoring rate.

But in search of quick runs, it lost more wickets. Vasanth Saravanan returned to the pavilion after a failed attempt to clear Aushik Srinivas at long-on off Aswin Crist. Then, Karthik, whose slashes and slogs fetched him three fours and a six, perished while trying to hit Washington beyond long-off.

Apart from Anthony Dhas (27, 17b, 1x4, 2x6) and Yo Mahesh (17 not out, 23b, 2x4), the rest of the Super Gillies batters could manage only single-digit scores.

Towards the end of its innings, Super Gillies batters were getting out as a result of mere cluelessness.

Sai Kishore, 10th in the line-up, after swinging and missing an Akash Sumra delivery that went to ‘keeper-skipper Dinesh Karthik, took off, paused in the middle of the pitch as if getting a brain-freeze, and by the time he attempted to get back, the bails had been dislodged by Karthik. Another suicidal run-out ended the Super Gillies innings at 114 all out.

Athisayaraj picked the most wickets (four) for the Patriots. But Washington, who bowled three overs, scalping two wickets and giving away just five runs, impressed, too.

After choking the Super Gillies with the ball, he tore them apart with the bat. The first and the third over, he batted like he was in a computer game — they read: 2lb, 0, 6,6,6,4| 4,4,4,4,0,6. Kaushik Gandhi, perhaps shocked by Washington’s power-hitting at the other end, played out a maiden, calming the pace of the match, which the former was threatening to finish in no time.

Super Gillies enjoyed a fleeting moment of success when it got the wickets of Kaushik and skipper Karthik off successive deliveries. But Washington, who had already scored the fastest fifty of TNPL with a punch to the extra-cover fence, made sure he was there till the end of this nightmarish evening for Super Gillies, which will now have to win the Qualifier 2 on Friday to meet the Patriots in the final.

Brief Scores:

Chepauk Super Gillies 114 in 20 overs (S. Karthik 33, Antony Dhas 27; Athisayaraj Davidson 4/25) lost to Albert Tuti Patriots 118/2 in 12.3 overs (Washington Sundar 73, Abhinav Mukund 33; Sai Kishore 1/19)