TNPL: Kings knocks out Kaalai

T. Natarajan and K. Vignesh claimed seven wickets between them to help Lyca Kovai Kings a score of 137 and defeat Idream Karaikudi Kaalai in the third eliminator.

Lyca Kovai Kings celebrates its victory on Thursday.   -  G. Karthikeyan

K. Vignesh rattled the top order while T. Natarajan cleaned up the tail as Lyca Kovai Kings showed belief to defend 137 and defeat Idream Karaikudi Kaalai by 24 runs in the third eliminator of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) at the NPRCET grounds here on Thursday.

Chasing a modest target of 138 for a place in the second qualifier, Kaalai got off to a dreadful start. Opener S. Aniruda hit back-to-back boundaries off pacer K. Vignesh but the bowler had the revenge, getting him caught at mid-off. Left-arm spinner S. Ajith Ram struck in the very next over, getting Aditya sweeping to short fine-leg. K. Vignesh struck again, taking two wickets off a single over; R. Srinivasan was caught at mid-off while R. Kavin miscued a pull in the same over.

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Kaalai was tottering at 29 for four at the end of the PowerPlay. It became worse; Yo Mahesh was caught behind off leg-spinner M. P. Rajesh and R. Rajkumar’s top edge off debutant off-spinner R. Mithun left the team struggling at 50 for six at the halfway mark.

The next five overs produced only 21 runs. Southpaw Bafna, who was circumspect till then, cut loose alongside S. Kishan Kumar as 17 runs came off an over from Mithun. T. Natarajan, though, had the last laugh, trapping M. Bafna in front and castling S. Kishan Kumar as Kaalai fell well short of its target.

Abhinav anchors Kings’ innings

Earlier, the team’s bowling unit struck at regular intervals to restrict Lyca Kovai Kings to 137 for eight.

Sent in to bat, M. Shahrukh Khan and Abhinav Mukund made a steady start but couldn’t accelerate. Only the odd boundary came from the blade of the openers before M. Shahrukh Khan was stumped off S. Kishan Kumar. Lyca Kovai Kings kept struggling for boundaries after their dismissal.

S. Kishan Kumar struck again with a half tracker to dismiss Rohit. With Antony Dhas’ dismissal, Lyca Kovai Kings was 57 for three at the halfway mark with only six boundaries in total. With dismissals at regular intervals, Abhinav Mukund was forced to anchor the innings. He brought about his fifty with a six in the 15 over. In trying to get an extra run in the same over from a overthrow, Abhinav was run out.

Lyca Kovai Kings was 90 for five with five overs left in the innings. R. Rajkumar picked up four wickets in the back end of the innings as the Kings stuttered and stumbled to reach a middling score, which proved enough.

Brief scores
  • Lyca Kovai Kings 137 for eight in 20 overs (Abhinav Mukund 51, R. Rajkumar four for 30, S. Kishan Kumar two for 27) beat IDream Karaikudi Kaalai 113 in 19.4 overs (Maan Bafna 40, S. Kishan Kumar 25, T. Natarajan four for 24, K. Vignesh three for 19).