TNPL: Gillies and Karaikudi look to bounce back from defeats

Defending champion Chepauk Super Gillies will look to register its first win in the third edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) when it takes on Idream Karaikudi Kaalai in Chennai's M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.

Karaikudi Kaalai skipper S. Anirudha led his team to an eight-wicket victory with an unbeaten 93 against Kanchi Veerans on Friday.   -  M. Vedhan

Defending champion Chepauk Super Gillies will look to register its first win in the third edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) when it takes on Idream Karaikudi Kaalai in Chennai's M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.

Super Gillies suffered back-to-back defeats in its opening two matches – it lost by 31 runs to Ruby Trichy Warriors in its opening game and then succumbed to a 26-run defeat to Madurai Panthers in its second match.

On the other hand, Saturday’s opponent, Karaikudi Kaalai, also lost its first group match in a thrilling encounter against Kovai Kings that was decided by a Super Over. Karaikudi skipper S. Anirudha led the team to an eight-wicket victory with an unbeaten 93 against Kanchi Veerans in its second match.

READ: Anirudha's unbeaten 93 leads Karaikudi to facile win

The Super Gillies' batting department has failed to combine, with B. Rahul and U. Sasidev’s partnership of 62 runs for the fifth wicket against Trichy Warriors remains the only 50+ partnership the side has stitched together so far.

“We are yet to exploit the Powerplay, which some of the other sides have done. They have got a minimum of 45-50 runs which we haven’t done. It’s an area that we need to get better at, one of them (batsmen) will have to strike at the top. I am hoping one of them will come good tomorrow,” Super Gillies head coach Hemang Badani said about the team’s batting.

Super Gillies' bowling department has failed to impress so far and the unit leaked 71 runs in the last five overs in Saturday's clash against Trichy. With team captain Vijay Shankar yet to join the squad from India-A's tour of England, Super Gillies will look to spinner Murugan Ashwin, who impressed with figures of 24 for 3 against Madurai.

“To me, he is a strike bowler, a wicket-taking bowler. My mindset with him is to get me wickets, my frontline bowler... he has played at a high level, can handle pressure, can bowl in Powerplay and in the death overs. He is not a defensive option to us,” Badani added.

Badani also felt that it will be tough for his team to win matches on the trot, as it has been a closely-contested tournament so far. “The sides are far more equal this time.... a couple of sides were a bit heavier in the last two seasons. The bottomline is that one has to play good cricket... we are still playing below our own standards. If we get better, we should be okay,” said the 41-year old.

Chepauk Super Gillies will play Idream Karaikudi Kaalai on Saturday at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai at 7:15 pm.

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