TNPL 2019 Final: Chepauk Super Gillies looks to clinch its second title at home against Dindigul Dragons

Both Chepauk Super Gillies and Dindigul Dragons are sides with firepower. Both sides have cricketers who can smash the ball out of the park. Yet, both Super Gillies and the Dragons will be wary of the weather on Thursday.

Chepauk Super Gillies batsman Ganga Sridhar Raju in action during the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) cricket match against Dindigul Dragons at the ICL grounds in Tirunelveli on August 11.

Chepauk Super Gillies batsman Ganga Sridhar Raju in action during the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) cricket match against Dindigul Dragons at the ICL grounds in Tirunelveli on August 11.   -  A. Shaikmohideen

A fresh pitch, showers on the cards, and the pressure of the final. Things could get hot even if the mercury comes down during the title clash.

Both Chepauk Super Gillies and Dindigul Dragons are sides with firepower. Both sides have cricketers who can smash the ball out of the park. 

Yet, both Super Gillies and the Dragons will be wary of the weather. It rained on Wednesday night and if it pours again on Thursday afternoon and evening, there could be moisture on the surface.

Bowling first could be a good option if rain is still in the air. The pacemen can cash in on the conditions and there could be spongy bounce from the surface.

The teams will have to grapple with the dynamics of the revised targets too if rain cuts into the match.

Super Gillies got the better of the Dragons in a thriller in Qualifier I. But Gillies captain Kaushik Gandhi said, “It’s a fresh day and both teams are starting from zero.”

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Both teams have match-winners. None bigger than Vijay Shankar of Super Gillies. He can bludgeon attacks with his power - he can be brutal off his back-foot - and then bowl his seamers with verve. 

“Having Vijay Shankar is a big boost. He has played international cricket and his presence does give us a lot of positive energy,” said Kaushik.

The dapper Kaushik and Ganga Sridhar Raju are two top-order batsmen who can build the Super Gillies innings and then accelerate. The strokeful K.H. Gopinath can be influential.  

Guided capably by coach Hemang Badani, Super Gillies has been making the right moves. Tactically, the team has been good, particularly in the manner it has used young slinger G. Periaswamy.

The side has given the emerging paceman confidence and he has often nailed his yorkers at the death.

Among the spinners, leg-spinner M. Ashwin can turn games. And steady left-armer R. Alexander can peg back run-rates. 

The Super Gillies pace attack will have to restrict the in-form Dragons’ opening pair of N. Jagadeesan and Hari Nishaanth. It’s a right-left combination that can hurt; the duo already has three century-partnerships in this TNPL.

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Perhaps Super Gillies can open with M. Ashwin and probe, Hari Nishaanth in particular, with googlies. He can also turn his leg-spinners away from Jagadeesan. Super Gillies needs to think out of the box.

Jagadeesan, the Dragons skipper, conceded the team would miss its star R. Ashwin. He quickly added the India all-rounder left behind a wonderful team culture. “Coming into this season R. Ashwin made sure we were all very focused but always enjoying the game. I personally feel that attitude will take us a long way.”

Dragons has guys who can spring a surprise. Much like N.S. Chaturved, the grafter, who suddenly seemed to have developed muscles and bat speed during his blitzkrieg on Tuesday night. He did appear a pocket powerhouse. 

M. Mohammed can bowl with heart and strike the ball a long way. Dragons has a useful seam attack where R. Rohit has looked sharp. 

Steady left-armer M. Silambarasan and leg-spinner M. Abhinav, who has been impressive with his fizz off the pitch and variations, have been a significant factor in the Dragons attack.

The side that doesn’t allow moments to fly away, will emerge triumphant.