TNPL: Aparajith's late assault sets up Veerans' win in a thriller

Baba Aparajith hit six sixes his 74-run knock to propel Veerans from 92 for four to a match-winning 170 for six in five overs. Kovai Kings fell three runs short.

Aparajith and Rohit Tamil Nadu Premier League Thiruvallur Veerans

Thiruvallur Veerans' Aparajith and R. Rohit plundered 48 runs in the last two overs.

“We want sixer! We want sixer!” screamed a bunch of kids clad in their school uniforms, as they didn’t get one after the first 15 overs of play between VB Thiruvallur Veerans and Lyca Kovai Kings.

Baba Aparajith’s (74 off 39) series of six scintillating on-side sixes in the next five overs satiated them. They stood up, skipped, screamed and threw paper bits as Aparajith and R. Rohit (21 off 11) boosted Veerans from 92 for four to a match-winning 170 for six in five overs.

It was the highest total here in this league. And only yesterday, Kings slumped chasing 160 against Karaikudi Kaalai. But today it fought till the end. With three needed off the last ball, S. Harish Kumar (46 off 26), who steered his team till the end with a 26-ball 46, missed hitting the ball that mattered the most.

Unlike yesterday, Kings didn’t lose too many wickets in the first ten overs. It lost only one, making 64 at the halfway mark. Opener B. Anirudh Sita Ram (63 off 47), unhurried by the mounting required rate, steered and cut and tucked to keep the scorecard ticking. The boundaries came once he settled down. He and Harish scored 56 for the third wicket, providing the necessary thrust to the chase.

After Aparajith opted to bat, Veerans openers C. Hari Nishanth (18) and R. Kavin (31) were welcomed with some wayward, sub-130 kmph offerings by pacers M. Mohammed and K. Gowtham Thamarai Kannan. On a slow track, they bowled short, wide and on the hips. Their three overs amounted to 35 of the 46 powerplay runs.

Skipper J. Syed Mohammed, in the seventh over, curbed Veerans’ freeflow, trapping Hari Nishanth with an arm-ball. Aparajith’s arrival at three accompanied a drizzle that paused the game for about ten minutes after the seventh over.

A ball after resumption of play, bowler Sivakumar’s fingers deflected Aparajith’s straight drive to the non-striker’s stumps. Kavin, too eager for strike after scoring six fours, was a long way down from his crease.

The dismissal lulled the Veerans. It meandered in the next seven overs, scoring just 42 and losing two wickets.

Then, in the 16th, Aparajith exploded. Harish Kumar’s full-length delivery on the off-stump was thwacked over long on. The first six of the match.

The next one, more pleasing, didn’t take long. In the 18th over by M. Mohammed, Aparajith shuffled across the off-stump and flicked a 73-metre six over deep mid-wicket.

Overs 19 and 20 were rampaged. Aparajith and Rohit took turns to bash six sixes and two fours, plundering 48 runs.

Brief scores: VB Thiruvallur Veerans: 170/6 (B. Aparajith 74 not out, 39b, 2x4, 6x6, R. Kavin 31, 20b, 6x4; S. Harish Kumar 2/49) bt Lyca Kovai Kings: 168/5 (B. Anirudh Sita Ram 63, 47b, 3x4, 3x6, S. Harish Kumar 46 not out, 26b, 3x4, 3x6; R. Shah 2/33)