TNPL: ‘Well prepared’ Gillies braces up for Kings’ challenge

Chepauk Super Gillies’ coach Hemang Badani is confident his team will register its spot in the final.

Hemang Badani... “It's a must win for both sides but we are well prepared.”   -  E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Chepauk Super Gillies has never won a match against defending champion Albert Tuti Patriots in the two seasons of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) so far. But the team wants to have another crack at its opponent in the final.

Standing tall in its way are the men from Lyca Kovai Kings. Getting past them will be tough, but coach Hemang Badani is confident his boys will do the job when they meet Kings in the crucial TNPL second qualifier at the ICL grounds in Sankar Nagar here on Friday.

“It's a must win for both sides but we are well prepared. We have batters standing up and bowlers doing well. So, there's no question of worry at all,” said Badani.

‘Just a bad game’

Badani said the big defeat to Patriots in the first qualifier in Chennai has not dented the team's confidence. “We are the second best team; it is just that we had a bad game. But, if our boys play to their potential then we can sail through easily. We are looking forward to the game [on Friday],” he added.

 

The top-order and the middle have played their part. Thalaivan Saragunam, H. Gopinath, U. Sasidev and S Karthik are in great form. So is Antony Dhas. He has been hitting the ball really hard and he may well be the man to look out for. Left-arm spinner Sai Kishore has done an equally good job with the ball.

‘Upper hand’

For the record, Gillies has a 2-1 edge over the Kings. Earlier in the league, the former defeated the latter by six wickets.

“They won with only an over to spare. But, this time around, we certainly have the upper hand. The team has been really doing well. We have won three games in a row and have twice chased 190-plus totals. So we will like to keep the momentum going,” said C. Hemant Kumar, the Kings' coach.

After Murali Vijay joined midway through, the team has never looked back, according to Kumar. “We have been playing some good brand of cricket. There are lots of positives. Everybody is contributing in some way or the other.”

L. Suryapprakash and Anirudh Sita Ram have had good runs so far. And R. Rohith, who slammed the fastest TNPL ton against Kaalai on Wednesday, has further signalled a strong warning to the Gillies. But the bowlers need to strike big as well. K. Vignesh will have to lead from the front and if the rest of the bunch can do in the field as coach Hemant expects then one can expect a cracker of a contest between the teams.