Exactly one month after the seventh season of the TNPL kicked off in Coimbatore, defending champion Lyca Kovai Kings will take on Nellai Royal Kings in the final at the ICL Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
Shahrukh Khan-led Kovai Kings has lived up to its billing as one of the pre-tournament favourites by dominating the league stages, winning six out of seven and then easing past Dindigul Dragons in the Qualifier-1 game to be the first team to reach the summit clash.
More impressive about Kovai’s run to the final is that it has managed to win all its games convincingly.
“We have picked a player because we liked what we saw and did not meddle with their mindset. We have given them specific roles and allowed them to get on with it.” Shahrukh Khan on his team’s dominant run so far.
Nellai, on the other hand, has had to take a longer route but prevailed in two thrilling contests in the Playoffs. In the Eliminator, it won by four runs against Siechem Madurai Panthers and then in Qualifier-2, the team sealed the game off the last ball after being in big trouble at one stage while chasing a big total against Dragons.
The experience of winning two challenging games could come in handy for K.B. Arun Karthick’s men.
“The execution for both the batters and the bowlers gets better as they play more matches, and your skill levels also improve. So I think we are well prepared for the final,” he said.
Importantly, Nellai will look to take comfort from the fact that it is the only side to have beaten Kovai this year in the league stage when G. Ajitesh slammed a sensational century to chase down 182 in Coimbatore last month.
Both teams play a similar brand of cricket, with a powerful batting attack that looks to take on the bowlers throughout the innings, and the match could well be decided on which team’s bowling attack executes better on the day.
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