Karaikudi Kaalai snaps Kovai Kings' 3-match winning streak

Karaikudi Kaalai registered a 36-run win over Lyca Kovai Kings in a Tamil Nadu Premier League match at Chepauk on Friday.

Tamil Nadu Premier League, Karaikudi Kaalai v Kovai Kings, bowlers

R. Sonu Yadav of Karaikudi Kaalai celebrates with team-mates after taking the wicket of S. Harish Kumar of Lyca Kovai Kings at MAC Stadium in Chennai on Friday.   -  R.Ragu

Five of Lyca Kovai Kings’ (LKK) batsmen were in the dug-out after 11 overs, scoring only 59 of the 160 required. A spirited partnership, or at least a partnership of some kind, was needed. But the rest just swung, hit a few, missed many, mishit some and plodded to 123 for nine in 20 overs.

Karaikudi Kaalai (KK) pacers, picking seven wickets between them, snapped LKK’s three-match winning streak.

Right-arm pacer Sonu Yadav caused the maximum damage, scalping four. But none of the four deliveries were unplayable. All got out trying to slog — three caught and one bowled off an inside edge.

Only opener S. Anirudh Sita Ram (35) managed more than 20 runs. The rest couldn’t even last more than 15 balls.

Choosing to bat, Vijaya Kumar’s crackling 21-ball stay yielded him 35 and propelled Karaikudi to 44 in the powerplay. He scored six boundaries, including a vehement slash past third man, two flourishing square-cuts, a pull over deep mid-wicket and a slap beyond the cow corner.

But his cover-drive off M. Mohammed in the sixth over outclassed the rest. It was a full-length ball on the fourth stump. Vijaya Kumar waited, stretched forward and made his bat meet the ball at the right place, at the right time. It was concise, precise, minimal and magnificent. Vijay Kumar didn’t have to run. He stood and watched the ball race to the fence.

Vijaya Kumar was bowled off a devious short-ball that kept low and took his inside edge as he attempted a pull.

But S. Badrinath and S. Aniruda hurt LKK’s bowlers the most. K. Vignesh even injured his knee when he dismissed the former. He collided against his skipper J. Syed Mohammed, trying to catch a looming top-edge off Badrinath's bat.

By then, Badrinath and Aniruda had put on 65 in 37 balls for the fourth wicket. Badrinath, in his customary manner, sent the ball through the gaps and to unmanned areas. Coming at 44/2, the 36-year-old skipper, scoring his first fifty of the league, ensured the innings’ smooth flow. But Aniruda, with his beefy powerhits, was the nitro-boost that propelled the score to 159/5.

Brief scores: Karaikudi Kaalai: 159/7 (S. Badrinath 53, 46b, 6x4, 1x6, S. Aniruda 45, 29b, 2x4, 3x6; M. Mohammed 3/26) beat Lyca Kovai Kings 123/9 (S. Anirudh Sita Ram 35, 29b, 2x4, 2x6, S. Harish Kumar 20, 15b, 2x6; R. Sonu Yadav 4/22)