The teams batting first had come up trumps here so far this season, but VB Kanchi Veerans altered the script with a convincing seven-wicket win over defending champion Siechem Madurai Panthers in the Sankar Cement-TNPL at the ICL grounds on Sunday.

After Veerans’ pacer R. Silambarasan’s impressive spell of five for 17 had restricted Panthers to 138, skipper B. Aparajith (44, 41b, 5x4) and S. Lokeshwar (51 not out, 42b, 6x4) added 80 for the third wicket to steer Veerans to its second successive win. 

Earlier, P. Shijit Chandran, handed the captain’s armband in place of K.B. Arun Karthick, decided to take first strike, possibly going by the trend in the earlier games here.

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Pacer R. Suthesh got into the act immediately, creating doubts in the minds of the Panthers’ openers — Karthick and A. Sarath Raj — and went on to deliver a maiden, the first instance in TNPL-2019 when no run was scored in the opening over. 

Arun Karthick falls

Gowtham Thamarai Kannan, the other fast bowler, made it even better for Veerans, removing the in-form Karthick in the next over. 

The latter, trying to cut, offered a dolly to Silambarasan at short third-man. 

Panthers would have been in bigger trouble had speedster R. Sathish and left-arm spinner N.S. Harish grabbed on to caught and bowled chances from Shijit, when on 13 and 18.

Fortunately for Veerans, Sathish struck immediately, forcing Sarath to drive uppishly and into the safe hands of B. Aparajith at cover. 

J. Kousik, who joined Shijit, repaired the damage with a 40-run partnership for the third wicket. 

Aparajith handed over the ball to Silambarasan at this stage and the 26-year-old from Cuddalore delivered in style. Bowling a steady line, he ripped through the Panthers’ line-up and finished with his first five-for of the season. 

Chasing a target of 139, Veerans lost two wickets quickly before Aparajith and Lokeshwar put the side back on the rails with their calm approach. Their efforts took the team past the finish line with an over to spare.

-Chepauk Super Gillies crushes Lyca Kovai Kings-

In the second match, Ganga Sridhar Raju (31, 35b, 3x4) and K.H. Gopinath (82, 41b, 10x4, 4x6) propelled Chepauk Super Gillies to a nine-wicket win against an off-colour Lyca Kovai Kings.

Chasing a modest total of 115, the Gillies openers gave the team a scorching start, stitching together a 106-run stand. It was the duo’s second successive century partnership and it came off just 72 balls.