Tamil Nadu rode on C.Hari Nishaanth’s unbeaten 92 to post a 66-run win over Jharkhand in its opening match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.

Asked to bat, Tamil Nadu scored a formidable 189 for five before restricting Jharkhand to 123 for seven. Southpaw Nishaanth (92 n.o., 63b, 8x4, 3x6) batted confidently and executed some clean hits on both sides. He forged a 72-run stand with fellow opener N. Jagadeesan to give Tamil Nadu a strong start against an attack that lacked discipline.

Jagadeesan (27, 28b, 2x4, 1x6) gave good support to Nishaanth before being caught brilliantly by Rahul Shukla at long-on off Anukul Roy’s bowling. Nishaanth, who was let off twice off the bowling of left-arm spinner Anukul, stitched together another important partnership of 98 with captain Dinesh Karthik (46, 17b, 3x4, 4x6).

Karthik hammered Monu Kumar for six, four, six and six in a row in the 18th over. He was run out in the last over bowled by Shukla, who dismissed two other batsmen.

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Running out of steam

Jharkhand struggled in its reply as its batsmen played some poor shots in the Powerplay overs. Ishan Kishan edged Sandeep Warrier to Karthik, Utkarsh Singh chipped Sonu Yadav to square-leg, and Kumar Deobrat was caught at deep point off Warrier, as Jharkhand was reduced to 47 for three in six overs.

Virat Singh (23, 24b, 2x4) and Saurabh Tiwary (9, 18b) tried to consolidate for six overs but could not achieve the desired result due to Tamil Nadu’s well-planned bowling despite the retirement of Vijay Shankar owing to a leg injury.

Anand Singh’s unbeaten 24-ball 28 was also in vain. Medium-pacer Sonu got rid of Virat and Shahbaz Nadeem to claim three wickets on debut.