TNPL: Patriots tames Dragons for a place in final

Abhinav Mukund's scintillating 91 set up Albert Tuti Patriots' win over Dindigul Dragons for a place in the TNPL final.

Abhinav Mukund timed the ball sweetly and pressurised the opposition bowling from the start.   -  Special Arrangement

Dindigul Dragons had its plans cut out for Albert Tuti Patriots but it backfired as the latter scored a convincing 38-run win over the former for a place in the final of the Tamil Nadu Premier League at the ICL grounds here on Friday.

It is normally hard to start afresh after losing to your opponent in the league stages and at the same venue. But Albert’s boys rose to the occasion. Abhinav Mukund, in particular, played the big innings and, it came at the right time for the team. The gritty opener set the stage on fire with a blistering 91 (55b, 10x4, 1x6) that fetched him the man of the match.

Abhinav timed the ball sweetly and put the pressure on the opposition bowlers from the start. The 26-year-old, who is back after his Duleep Trophy assignment, was able to do that because his balance was good.

His great attacking play and shot selection was enough for the team to lay a strong foundation. With the crowd by his side, Abhinav slashed two boundaries off medium pacer T. Natarajan in the very first over. Kaushik Gandhi, the other opener, meanwhile played a quiet innings before gifting his wicket to off-spinner Yazh Arun Mozhi. He went for an ambitious drive only to offer an easy catch to Sunny Singh at backward point.

S. P. Nathan, who came in next, lived dangerously. That did not matter for Abhinav. He continued to treat the bowlers sensitively in the company of his skipper Dinesh Karthik (48, 31b, 1x4, 4x6) to bring up his maiden fifty of the tournament. It came off 35 balls and contained five hits to the fence.

Karthik decided to stay longer at the crease with his partner but went into attack mode later. He launched left-arm spinner M.S. Sanjay for three sixes in a row and, with it, stitched a healthy 95-run stand for the third wicket with Abhinav. But medium pacer Sunny Singh struck a triple blow to restrict the team to 187 for seven.

Chasing a target of a little over nine an over, the Dindigul openers N. Jagadeesan (59, 341b, 7x4, 1x6) and S. Raghunath began on a positive note scoring at seven an over. But off-spinner Washington Sundar picked three crucial wickets in his first over, the team’s sixth, to push the team on the back foot.

But Jagadeesan, the tournament’s highest scorer, had other plans. He stood like a rock and hammered those loose deliveries that came his way to bring his half century in style. And just when he looked set for a big score medium pacer Aswin Crist bowled a delivery that dipped a bit and Jagadeesan fell prey to it. But not before building a 56-run (39b) partnership for the fourth wicket with Ashwin Venkataraman (40, 26b, 3x4, 2x6).

With the run-rate climbing, the rest of the innings petered out without a fight.

The scores:-

Tuti Patriots 187 for seven in 20 overs (Abhinav Mukund 91, Dinesh Karthik 48, Sunny Kumar Singh three for 34) bt Dindigul Dragons 149 for eight in 20 overs (N. Jagadeesan 59, Ashwin Venkataraman 40, Washington Sundar four for 23, Aswin Crist two for 25).