TNPL: Balaji's five-for ends Patriots' losing streak

After Albert Tuti Patriots' batsmen scored 144/4, its prime pacer L. Balaji dismissed five of VB Thiruvallur Veerans batsmen to snap a three-match losing streak in the TNPL.

L. Balaji took the first five-wicket haul in TNPL.   -  Special Arrangement

Former India bowler L. Balaji’s five-wicket haul – the first of the tournament – was the highlight of Albert Tuti Patriots’s six-wicket win over VB Thiruvallur Veerans in the India Cements Tamil Nadu Premier League at NPR CET grounds in Natham on Wednesday. With the victory, Patriots snapped its three-match losing streak.

Patriots's openers M. Kaushik Gandhi (43, 29b, 7x4) and M. S. Washington Sundar (31, 35b, 3x4) provided a solid platform putting together 64 off 51 balls. But, R. S. Jaganath Sinivas’s double strike, dismissing Gandhi and U. Sushil off successive deliveries, pegged the Patriots’s run-rate. Skipper Abhinav Mukund (47 not out, 36b, 4x4) , and Sundar added 27 off 30 balls for the third-wicket before the latter was run out.

With the required rate increasing, Patriots batsmen started looking for boundaries and managed to hit a few. Needing 16 to win off the last two overs with six wickets in hand, Patriots scored 12 off Abhishek Tanwar in the 19th over, thanks to Mukund's two fours. He also struck the winning runs in the final over as Patriots won with three balls to spare.

Earlier, Veerans, opting to bat, made a shaky start losing opener N. S. Chaturved in the third over with just eight runs on the board. He was caught by Anand Subramanian off L. Balaji. Skipper B. Aparajith, who came in at three, struck the first boundary of the match, a lovely straight drive. He got a reprieve the very next ball when Balaji dropped a catch off his own bowling.

Veerans batsmen improved the scoring rate when they managed to score 11 runs off the fourth over of the match bowled by A. Aswin Crist. But, Balaji delivered a double blow in the next over when he removed the in-form Aparajith and R. Kavin in successive deliveries.

Aparajith’s uppish straight drive rebounded off Balaji’s hand and was taken by Washington Sundar, while Kavin was castled. Veerans was 30 for three at the end of the powerplay. Opener C. Hari Nishaanth (59, 48b, 5x4, 2x6), who held the innings together also built partnerships. His 23-run stand with R. Sanjay Yadav, who struck a six and a four, for the fourth-wicket took the score past 50.

Nishaanth’s sixth-wicket partnership -- 40 off 23 balls -- with M. Lakshminarayanan provided Veerans the much-needed impetus before the latter was bowled by Sundar with the scorecard reading 107 for six in 15.3 overs.

After Nishaanth was dismissed by Balaji in the 18th over, Veerans could manage only 11 runs off the final two overs to finish at 141 for nine.

Brief scores:

VB Thiruvallur Veerans 141 for nine in 20 overs (C. Hari Nishaanth 59, L. Balaji five for 18, M.S. Washington Sundar two for 21) lost to Albert Tuti Patriots 144 for four in 19.3 overs (M. Kaushik Gandhi 43, M.S. Washington Sundar 31, Abhinav Mukund 47 not out, R.S. Jaganath Sinivas two for 24).