Sargunam, Gopinath oversee Chepauk win over Kovai Kings

The Chepauk Super Gillies won the game with six wickets to spare.

Thalaivan Sargunam scored a half-century for Chepauk Super Gillies.   -  V. Ganesan

Thalaivan Sargunam’s well-composed, unbeaten half-century and K. H. Gopinath’s assault at the beginning helped Chepauk Super Gillies chase Lyca Kovai Kings’ 146 without breaking a sweat, here, on Saturday night.

Gopinath’s (37, 25b, 2x4, 2x6) plan, from the start of the chase was to score swiftly. This he made clear by sending the first ball of the Super Gillies innings, bowled by Ajith Ram, to the mid-wicket ropes with a savage pull stroke. Another delivery of the same bowler, just two overs later, he sent soaring past long-on. The assault was cut short when he came down the track, a tad too soon, to rival skipper J. Syed Mohammed and hit the ball straight back to his hands.

Syed struck again, a ball later, getting rid of Sai Kishore, as the batsman mishit him to the extra cover fielder. But Sargunam (52, 51b, 4x4, 1x6), happy to rotate the strike without the pressure of a huge target, put on a 33-ball 40-run partnership with U. Sasidev.

Kovai Kings, despite getting two more wickets, could never really strangulate the Super Gillies, as the batsmen kept rotating the strike and scored the adequate boundaries to finish off the match with an over to spare.

Earlier, M. Mohammed’s 12-ball 26 (2x4, 2x6) provided the much-needed thrust to the Kovai Kings innings, which was lurching like a bullock cart in heavy traffic, taking it to 146 for eight. The team was thirsting for some big hits when he arrived to the crease at 103 for five in 16.5 overs. The two fours he hit were mistimed, but the sixes, two of them, were viciously struck - beyond long-off and extra cover.

Slow progress

The crowd, which constantly buzzed and erupted during Mohammed’s stay, was mostly dormant before his entry. For, there were eight overs that yielded just five runs each or less.

Opener L. Suryap Prakash (46, 43b, 5x4), in the fourth over by Yo Mahesh, heightened the innings’ tempo with three sweetly timed fours, one after another. He pounced out of the crease, as Mahesh pitched the deliveries short and wide, to send them scurrying past the extra cover boundary.

The momentum of the innings, however, dipped soon after, with the next three overs producing just 12 runs and the dismissal of B. Anirudh Sita Ram (6), who tried to hit opposition skipper R. Sathish out of the park but holed out to Anthony Dhas at mid-on.

Prakash, who was dropped on two by Sathish off his own bowling, slowed down, wanting to anchor the innings. Just when his second-wicket stand (36 off 33) with Pradosh Ranjan Paul (18) was starting to take off, the latter mishit Joel Joseph’s flighted off-break to Mahesh at long off.

A suicidal run out of Prakash - where he took off from the non-striker’s end, despite the point fielder holding the ball - slackened the Kovai Kings innings further till Mohammed’s blitzkrieg towards the end.

Brief scores

Lyca Kovai Kings 146 for eight (L. Suryap Prakash 46, M. Mohammed 26; Joel Joseph 2 for 29) lost to Chepauk Super Gillies 149 for four (Thalaivan Sargunam 52, K. H. Gopinath 37; J. Syed Mohammed 2 for 18) by six wickets.