In front of around 14,000 spectators, Tuti Patriots registered the first victory of the inaugural Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) match against Chepauk Super Gillies at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Patriots defeated Super Gillies for 45 runs, bowling the side out with two balls remaining, as glitz and glamour engulfed the iconic Chepauk Stadium on Wednesday.
Experience played a big role in the match. Fielding two former India cricketers - Laxmipathy Balaji and Dinesh Karthik - Tuti Patriots won comfortably. Akash Sumra shone with the ball as he finished with figures of 4-0-14-3. Aushik Srinivas also picked up three wickets while Balaji snared two.
Both Balaji and Sumra missed the opportunity of registering the first hat-trick of the league. In the 10th over of the match, Balaji removed R. Satish and Rahul B in successive deliveries. However, he could not complete the hat-trick. Sumra, who removed Thalaivan Sargunam X and Sasidev U in the final two deliveries of the ninth over, also missed the opportunity.
A glimpse at the Super Gillies’ scorecard will cause major headache for its coach - Hemang Badani. While three batsmen were dismissed for a duck, the highest individual score was 29 by Sargunam X.
Earlier, Albert Tuti Patriots won the toss and elected to bat in what promised to be a high scoring match. Karthik played a captain’s innings, scoring an unbeaten 67 from 49 balls.
Walking into bat after the dismissal of India Under-19 player Washington Sundar, Karthik played a slow innings till the penultimate over. In the span of 12 balls, Karthik hit three sixes and one four to push the final score to 164 for the loss of five wickets. He brought his half-century in style smashing Tamil Kumaran for a six over midwicket.
Washington Sundar and Kaushik Gandhi provided a positive start for Patriots, keeping the run-rate moving. However, the two openers could not build their innings. Gandhi was the first to depart as Super Gillies’ captain Sathish trapped him leg before in the fifth over.
It was Karthik who made sure that the runs kept flowing for the Patriots. His innings involved four sixes and three fours with majority of the runs coming from the leg side.
Even for the Gillies, it was the skipper who led the charge in the bowling department. Sathish opened the bowling and removed the openers. He finished his quota of fours over giving away only 16 runs. Yo Mahesh and Antony Dhas picked up one wicket each.
Karthik, who was awarded the man of the match, will be missing the next match because of his Duleep Trophy assignment for India Blue team. However, Balaji stated that in his absence the Patriots batting line-up will be able to handle the pressure.
Praising Kaushik and Washington, Balaji said: "This is the first game. The players will evolve with the little partnerships they make. They will learn from it. Kaushik started really well. Washington is our promising talent. He also started well. It is about extending the partnership into little more. They have done a great job."
Thalaivan, who scored the highest score for Super Gillies, blamed the lack of partnership for the loss. Speaking about Karthik's show, Thalaivan said: "Initially we worked on around a strategy. But, he was playing very well. He did not accelerate but last three overs he went after the bowlers. Batsman of his calibre can easily change the game."
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