The Nellai batsmen had a point to prove after their disastrous opener against Ruby Trichy Warriors.
Chennai, July 24: Nellai Royal Kings bounced back in the Shriram Capital Tamil Nadu Premier League with a thrilling seven-wicket victory over Chepauk Super Gillies at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Saturday.
Chasing 166 in 20 overs, Nellai were well served by their captain Baba Aparajith (55 off 42 balls, 5 fours, 2 sixes) and the left-handed Pradosh Ranjan Paul (62 off 52 balls, 8 fours). Together they raised 98 runs off 81 balls in a rollicking second-wicket partnership that kept the Chepauk bowlers at bay.
There were tense moments at the finish as Paul was caught behind off Rahul Dev in the final over with six needed from three balls. But wicketkeeper Baba Indrajith ended the contest in style with a big six over mid-wicket.
All-rounder Sanjay Yadav (25 not out off 14 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) too played a part, stepping up after Aparajith was caught behind off left-arm spinner Manimaran Siddharth.
Nellai batters step up
The Nellai batsmen had a point to prove after their disastrous opener against Ruby Trichy Warriors when they folded up for a paltry 77 and lost by 74 runs. The victory against the defending champions puts them back in the fray.
Captain Aparajith, however, felt there is still scope for improvement. “Every game is a process and we have to take it forward. There are a lot of areas to improve, at the same time there were very key moments that we performed which we don’t want to forget,” he said, adding, “To beat a team like Chepauk Super Gillies which will give great confidence to the side.”
For Chepauk, the defeat undid the herculean efforts of opener Narayan Jagadeesan, whose majestic 95 off 70 balls (9 fours, 5 sixes) had helped the side raise a competitive 165-7 in 20 overs.
While all Chepauk batsmen struggled to get going, the 26-year-old from Coimbatore single-handedly took apart the Nellai attack. Such was Jagadeesan’s dominance that in a total of 165, he scored 95 with the rest of the eight batsmen collectively mustering just 54 runs.
He was particularly severe on leg-spinner Abhinav Mohan collecting 19 runs from seven balls, including two sixes. Jagadeesan missed out on his second century in the tournament when he went for a big heave off pacer Sharun Kumar but missed the slower length ball and was bowled in the 19th over.
Jagadeesan, however, swelled his run tally in the tournament to 1447 runs, the highest by any batsman.
Allrounder Jaganath Sinivas (19 not out off 9 balls) finished the innings in a flourish by smashing three fours in a row off the final over bowled by Athisayaraj Davidson.
The only partnership of note for Chepauk came between the left-handed Uthirasamy Sasidev (20 off 14 balls, 1 four, 1 six), who matched Jagadeesan’s stroke play before holing out in the deep off Mohan. Together they collected 46 runs off 33 balls for the fifth wicket.
The Chepauk innings comprised two halves, the first half where they struggled (52-3 in 10 overs) and the other where they raised 113 in 10 overs for the loss of four wickets.
Jagadeesan was disappointed with the defeat but remained optimistic about his team’s chances. “I feel good for my performance but I feel bad for finishing on the losing side. It’s only the beginning and there is a long way to go,” he said.
Janani, first woman umpire in TNPL
It was another landmark day when Narayanan Janani walked out to the field in the Chepauk Super Gillies v Nellai Royal Kings game to become the first woman on-field umpire to officiate a TNPL match.
The 35-year-old Janani, who is among the two woman umpires of the country in the International Cricket Council Development Umpires panel, has been officiating in the domestic circuit for the last three years. Vrinda Rathi is the other woman umpire on the ICC panel.
Janani, who idolises English umpire David Shepherd and former India captain and an accomplished umpire Srinivas Venkataraghavan, thanked the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association for their support. “I thank the TNCA for letting me officiate in the TNPL and I feel really happy to have officiated this game which went till the last over. I felt it was a really good game for me,” she said.
Janani believes her officiating on Saturday will pave the way for more women to take up such roles in the game. “I am sure it will force more women to think about cricket and the opportunities it gives. I would also like to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity for the past two years along with my colleague Vrinda Rathi and also for promoting us to the ICC development panel,” she said.
Brief scores: Chepauk Super Gillies 165-7 in 20 overs (Narayan Jagadeesan 95, Sasidev 20, Jaganath 19* ; Athisayaraj 2-31, M Abhinav 2-24) lost to Nellai Royal Kings 167-3 in 19.4 overs (Pradosh Ranjan Paul 62, Baba Aparajith 55, Sanjay Yadav 25*; R Alexandar 1-16, M Siddharth 1-26, Rahul D 1-41) by 7 wickets