Lyca Kovai Kings came, saw and conquered.
The Shahrukh Khan-led side produced one of the most dominant campaigns by a team in the TNPL as it romped home to its second consecutive title beating Nellai Royal Kings by 104 runs in the final here at the ICL Ground on Wednesday.
Right from the decision to bat first, Kovai Kings did not put a foot wrong in the title clash. Even though it lost two quick wickets in the PowerPlay, one batter from the top, middle and lower-order stepped up with well-composed half-centuries to help Kovai Kings post a mammoth 205 for five.
The Royal Kings’ chase got off poorly when Gowtham Thamarai Kannan removed opener R. Sri Neranjan before M. Siddharth struck a crucial blow castling the dangerous G. Ajitesh with a 107 kph arm-ball.
At the other end, K.B. Arun Karthick started strongly with a 20-run over, thrashing Gowtham for two fours and sixes. But Shahrukh (3/16), who has been impressive with the ball this season, accounted for his opposite number rearranging Arun Karthick’s stumps before removing Nidhish Rajagopal to derail the chase
From then on, Jhatavedh Subramanyan (4/21) put on an exhibition of classical leg-spin bowling. He removed Rithik Easwaran and Sonu Yadav off consecutive deliveries as Nellai slumped to 62 for six in the eighth over and sealed the title for his side.
Earlier, opener J. Suresh Kumar (57, 33b, 4x4, 3x6) laid the foundation with a knock that started cautiously before turning up the heat. U. Mukilesh held for at one end, accumulating the runs without many risks (51 n.o.) before Atheeq-ur-Rahman (50, 21b, 8x4, 1x6) gave the innings the final flourish with a quickfire half-century. The left-handed Atheeq was a beneficiary of Nellai’s poor fielding, having been dropped on 24 and 35, and he made them pay for it to take Kovai Kings past 200
The scores: Lyca Kovai Kings 205/5 in 20 overs (J. Suresh Kumar 57, U. Mukilesh 51 n.o., Atheeq-ur-Rahman 50, Sonu Yadav 2/43, Sandeep Warrier 2/39) bt Nellai Royal Kings 101 in 15 overs (K.B. Arun Karthick 27, M. Shahrukh Khan 3/16, Jhatavedh Subramanyan 4/21).
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