TNPL 2019: Arun Karthik's century leads Madurai Panthers to 3rd win of season

Arun Karthick's century propelled Madurai Panthers to 195 for five and it closed out a 23-run win over Lyca Kovai Kings.

K. B. Arun Karthick's 61-ball 106 was laced with 13 fours and 4 sixes.   -  G. Prasad

K.B. Arun Karthick’s magnificent century (106, 61b, 13x4, 4x6), the first of the season, was the highlight of defending champion Siechem Madurai Panthers’ 23-run win over Lyca Kovai Kings in the TNPL at the NPR College grounds in Natham on Friday.

Asked to bat, Panthers’ openers, after managing only a solitary leg-bye off the first over by K. Vignesh, smashed 33 runs in the next two. T. Natarajan was introduced into the attack and was dispatched for a six by A. Sarathraj almost immediately. However, the left-arm seamer had a swift revenge, bowling him next ball off an inside edge.

At 42 for one, fellow opener Karthick took charge. With runs flowing freely from his willow, the Madurai side raced to 61 for one in the Powerplay.

Karthick notched up his half-century off 31 balls before a spurt in his frequency of boundary hitting took Panthers past 100 in the 11th over. Kings’ bowlers chipped away at the other end, removing Adhithya Giridhar and R. Mithun.

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But, there was no let up in Karthick’s aggression as he got to his maiden TNPL century with a six. Vignesh eventually dismissed him, with the score on 165 in the 18th over. However by then, Karthick, whose 13 hits to the fence equalled Kaushik Gandhi’s record of most fours in an innings in TNPL, had put his team in a commanding position. J. Kousik (43 not out, 23b, 1x4, 4x6) hit three sixes off W. Antony Dhas in the final over to power Panthers to 195.

In reply, Kings began briskly before Panthers’ bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals to reduce the Coimbatore side to 55 for four in the seventh over. Skipper Abhinav Mukund (50, 38b, 4x4, 1x6) and Akkil Srinaath kept their team in the hunt with a 51-run stand for the fifth wicket. Kousik broke the growing partnership, dismissing Srinaath. Abhinav continued to fight, but the target proved insurmountable once he fell to N. Selva Kumaran in the 17th over. The left-arm spinner returned figures of four for 27. Interestingly, the Panthers became the first team in TNPL history not to concede an extra.

Super Gillies romps home

In the other match of the day, S. Harish Kumar’s all-round effort (53 not out & four for 15) helped Chepauk Super Gillies register a comfortable 61-run win over VB Kanchi Veerans. 

Opting to bat, Gillies lost opener K.H. Gopinath early. Skipper M. Kaushik Gandhi (50 not out, 48b, 4x4, 1x6) built partnerships – 37 for the second wicket with V. Ganga Sridhar Raju and 69 for third wicket with U. Sasidev – to lay a solid foundation.

Harish (53 not out, 20b, 1x4, 6x6), who walked in at No. 5, went on a six-hitting spree as Gillies amassed 75 runs in the last five overs to post 191 on the board.

Chasing a formidable target, Veerans found it hard to keep pace with the asking rate and folded for 130.

The scores

Siechem Madurai Panthers 195 for five in 20 overs (K.B. Arun Karthick 106, J. Kousik 43 n.o., S. Ajith Ram two for 17) bt Lyca Kovai Kings 172 for nine in 20 overs (Abhinav Mukund 50, K. Vignesh 26 n.o., Abhishek Tanwar two for 35, N. Selva Kumaran four for 27, J. Kousik two for 38)

Chepauk Super Gillies 191 for three in 20 overs (V. Ganga Sridhar Raju 27, M. Kaushik Gandhi 50 n.o., U. Sasidev 41, S. Harish Kumar 53 n.o., K. Gowtham Thamarai Kannan two for 46) bt VB Kanchi Veerans 130 in 19.2 overs (R. Sathish 44, G. Periyaswamy two for 34, S. Harish Kumar four for 15).