K.B. Arun Karthick’s blistering century (106, 57b, 12x4, 5x6) went in vain as Siechem Madurai Panthers lost to table-topper Nellai Royal Kings by 26 runs in the Shriram Capital­-TNPL at the NPR College grounds in Natham (Dindigul district) on Tuesday. This was Royal Kings’ fourth win in as many matches.

Put in, Royal Kings’ opener R. Sri Neranjan (47, 27b, 3x4, 5x6) dispatched Sunny Sandhu for a six and a four in the first over. Pradosh Ranjan Paul, the other opener, hit successive boundaries off L. Kiran Akash at the start of the fourth over before falling three balls later.

Neranjan, who survived a few run­-out chances, and B. Aparajith scored 15 off Varun Chakravarthy in the sixth as Royal Kings raced to 61 for one. R. Mithun picked up the crucial wicket of Neranjan in the eighth over, applying the brakes on the scoring rate briefly.

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However, Aparajith stepped on the accelerator and took the team past the 100­-run mark with a six in the 13th over. After his dismissal, the in-­form R. Sanjay Yadav (70 n.o., 42b, 4x4, 6x6) took over and
was provided good support by No. 5 and skipper Indrajith. Sanjay, who smashed 17 off Varun in the 18th over, reached his half­-century off 34 balls.

Sanjay and Indrajith continued to plunder the Panthers attack, their unbeaten 100­-run partnership off just 41 balls helping Royal Kings amass 209 for three, the highest total of the season.

Chasing a target of 210, Panthers lost a couple of wickets early. But, opener Arun Karthick kept the scoreboard moving at a brisk pace with his big­-hitting. Arun Karthick, who was dropped a couple of times, was involved in two valuable stands — 54 for the third wicket with skipper N.S. Chaturved and 49 for the fourth with J. Kousik.

Left-­arm tweaker N.S. Harish broke the partnership on both occasions and finished with three for 30. Undeterred, Arun Karthick continued to fight but the target proved too steep.

Today's matches: Lyca Kovai Kings vs. Salem Spartans (3.15 p.m.); Ruby Trichy Warriors vs. Chepauk Super Gillies (7.15 p.m.).