Nellai Royal Kings has laid down the marker as the team to beat in the Tamil Nadu Premier League this year as it posted its third straight win, beating Dindigul Dragons comprehensively by eight wickets at the NPR College Ground in Dindigul on Thursday.

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In a rain-hit match that was reduced to 12 overs-a-side, R. Sanjay Yadav (55 n.o., 19b, 2x4, 6x6) and B. Aparajith (59 n.o., 30b, 4x4, 4x6) slammed sensational half-centuries to help Royal Kings chase a steep 131 with relative ease in the end with an over to spare.

Despite getting a sub-par start after losing the openers cheaply, Aparajith and Sanjay Yadav did not hold back and went after the Dragons’ bowlers, who erred in length and paid the price.

With 96 needing from seven overs, the duo went after medium-pacer R. Vivek in the sixth over, with each batter pocketing a six and four each to plunder 22 runs.

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Sanjay got a reprieve in the eighth over when he sliced medium-pacer S. Arun over backward point only for M. Silambarasan to spill an easy chance with the batter on 22.

The Mumbai Indians all-rounder then made Dragons pay for the miss in the next over when he hit left-arm spinner Monish Satish for four consecutive sixes and sealed the tie in the favour of Royal Kings.

Earlier, openers K. Vishal Vaidya and C. Hari Nishaanth gave Dragons a flying start with an 82-run stand off just 45 balls. But Royal Kings fought back with medium-pacer Sri Neranjan scalping three wickets in his first two overs to halt Dragons’ march.