Lyca Kovai Kings batted and bowled with purpose to upstage Ruby Trichy Warriors by 26 runs in the 4th Sankar Cement Tamil Nadu Twenty20 Premier League (TNPL) at the India Cements Limited- Sankar Nagar Ground, Tirunelveli here on Saturday.
It was LKK’s second victory of the season from three matches, putting them in the race for a playoff spot. They had won the first match, against VB Kanchi Veerans, by eight wickets before losing to Tuti Patriots by six runs in a rain-affected match on Thursday.
Batting first after winning the toss, LKK did well to post a fighting 161-6 in 20 overs. Their bowlers led by fast bowler Krishnamoorthy Vignesh (2-12), who accounted for both RTW openers S Aravind (21 off 15 balls) and debutant K Mukunth (2 off 5 balls), did not allow the rival batsmen to settle in and eventually bowled them out for 135 in 19 overs.
Left-arm pacer Thangarasu Natarajan enhanced his reputation as a death-over specialist by claiming four wickets in his second spell (3-0-20-4) after conceding 13 runs in his first over.
When Natarajan came to bowl his second spell, RTW were not far off at 105-4, needing another 57 runs from 36 balls. The 28-year-old fast bowler from Salem made an immediate impact with a double strike, dismissing Saravana Kumar P (2) and Lakshminarayan Vignesh (0) off successive deliveries. He finished the game in a similar fashion by claiming two wickets in successive balls, claiming RTW wicketkeeper Mani Bharathy (17) and tailender M Poiyamozhi (9).
Earlier, a late charge by all-rounders Antony Dhas (32 off 13 balls, 2 fours, 3 sixes) and Akkil Srinaath (36 not out off 22 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) powered LKK to a competitive total. The eighth-wicket partnership of 52 runs off 28 balls between Dhas and Srinaath was central to the rearguard action as they collected 60 runs from the last five overs.
Dhas, who nearly pulled off a stunning victory for LKK against Tuti Patriots by blasting a 26-ball 63, laden with 7 sixes and 2 fours at NPR College Ground, Natham, Dindigul, continued from where he had left in the last game. In the company of left-handed Srinaath, they together clobbered 6 fours and 4 sixes in the last quarter of the innings.
Left-arm spinner Kannan Vignesh was at the receiving end, conceding 50 runs in his four overs for the most expensive analysis of the season.
Earlier, his namesake and fast bowler Lakshminarayanan Vignesh bowled a fine spell conceding just 12 runs in four overs, dismissing opener Shahrukh Khan (11). With captain Abhinav Mukund mistiming a pull and offering a tame catch to mind-on, off medium-pacer P Saravana Kumar, LKK were in trouble at 18-2 in the fourth over.
But wicketkeeper Pradosh Ranjan Paul (34 off 36 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) and Malolan Rajagopal (22 off 16 balls, 3 sixes) defied the RTW bowlers by putting on 45 runs off 34 balls for the third wicket. Though both were back in the pavilion by the 14thover, they had managed to set it up nicely for Dhas and Srinaath.
Dhas capped a good day for LKK by claiming a wicket in his three overs (1-15).
The winners will not have much time to celebrate their success as they will be playing again on Sunday evening against an in-form Chepauk Super Gillies. Ruby Trichy Warriors will travel to NPR College ground, Natham, Dindigul for their next match, against Siechem Madurai Panthers, on Wednesday (July 31).
Lyca Kovai Kings 161-6 in 20 overs (Pradosh Ranjan Paul 34, Malolan Rangarajan 22, Anthony Dhas 32, Akkil Srinaath 36 not out; Lakshminarayanan Vignesh 1-12, M Poiyamozhi 2-22, Kannan Vignesh 2-50) beat Ruby Trichy Warriors 135 all out in 19 overs (S Aravind 21, Aditya Barooah 27, Adithya Ganesh 24; Krishnamoorthy Vignesh 2-12, Thangarasu Natarajan 4-33) by 26 runs.
Toss: LKK, opt to bat
Points: Lyca Kovai Kings; Ruby Trichy Warriors
Umpires: R Rajesh Kannan, M Kuppuraj. TV umpire:M Ashwin Kumar.
Match referee: S Sharath.
Sankar Cement Man of the Match: Antony Dhas (LKK)
Sankar Cement Maximum 6s: Malolan Rangarajan, Antony Dhas (both LKK)
TCM-Nippon Paint Atom Best All-rounder: Pradosh Ranjan Paul (LKK)
SNJ VSOP Adhiradhi Four: Akkil Srinaath (LKK), Aditya Barooah (RTW).
BKT Tyres Commander of the Match: Antony Das (LKK)
Sprite Juicy+ Refreshing Player: Krishnamoorthy Vignesh (LKK), Lakshminarayanan Vignesh (RTW)
TVS Most Valuable Player of the Match: Malolan Rangarajan (LKK)
Sharon Ply Strong Performer of the Match: Thangarasu Natarajan (LKK)
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