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After a month of intense cricketing action, the India Cements Tamil Nadu Premier League finally has its two finalists in the form of Albert TUTI Patriots and Chepauk Super Gillies, who will face each other at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai on Sunday. It is back to where it started because the last time these two sides met at this very stadium was in the opening game of the league. Patriots clinched that match by 45 runs and from then on, both the teams have had a mix of journeys in the tournament so far.

Albert TUTI Patriots have found form at the right time of the tournament. They have won four matches in a row with both their bowling and batting contributing equally well. With their bowling doing well throughout the league, led by the veteran Lakshmipathy Balaji, all it needed was the addition of the star players Dinesh Karthik and Abhinav Mukund for their batting to showcase some class. Both the players were fantastic in the last match at Tirunelveli against the Dindigul Dragons, sharing a game-changing partnership between them. Dinesh infact played a second fiddle to Mukund, who looked unstoppable in that innings of 91. The two have made the batting line-up stronger that was getting into some good form with Kaushik Gandhi, Washington Sundar finding their touch as well.

Their bowling has been been top class right from the beginning of the tournament and have not allowed the opposition to get away with huge scores. They have been successful in restricting the opponents to 150 or less in almost all their games and that says a lot about their bowling attack. Balaji leads the bowling attack with panache and the others like Aswin Crist, Aushik Srinivas and Ganesh Moorthi have chipped in well especially in the middle overs. Washington Sundar, Patriots’ surprise package in the bowling powerplay, has been the biggest plus for the Patriots in the bowling department.

Moving on, the Chepauk Super Gillies didn’t have a great start to the league. But they have won the crucial moments of the tournament which helped them top the table and that eventually to grab the finals spot. The opening partnership of K Gopinath and Thalaivan Sargunam sets the base for the middle order to take off from there. Captain R Sathish’s boundaries in the final overs make the difference between a par score and an above par score while setting a target. Vasanth Saravanan would have gained a lot of confidence after that man of the match and half century in the semi-finals game against the LYCA Kovai Kings. That nicely sets up their batting line-up.

The bowling line-up of Chepauk is a mix of youngsters and experienced bowlers. Sai Kishore who is having a great tournament loves to bowl in the powerplay. He is supported by the fellow left arm spinner R Alexander and the young fast bowler Ashwath Mukunthan. Sathish opens the bowling for the Gillies and his experience is a value addition for the Chepauk side. Antony Dhas has been the revelation for the Chepauk side and has given crucial breakthroughs whenever the team has needed one.

Road to the finals

Albert TUTI Patriots
Beat Chepauk Super Gillies by 45 runs
Lost to LYCA Kovai Kings by nine wickets
Lost to Karaikudi Kaalai by eight runs
Lost to Dindigul Dragons in super over
Beat VB Thiruvallur Veerans by six wickets
Beat Ruby Kanchi Warrios by nine wickets
Beat Madurai Super Giants by 33 runs
Beat Dindigul Dragons by 38 runs.

Chepauk Super Gillies
Lost to Albert TUTI Patriots by 45 runs
Beat Karaikudi Kaalai by 67 runs
Beat Ruby Kanchi Warriors by 7 wickets
Lost to Lyca Kovai Kings by 11 runs
Beat Dindigul Dragons by 6 runs,
Beat Madurai Super Giants by 55 runs
Beat VB Thiruvallur Veerans by 41 runs
Beat LYCA Kovai Kings by 17 runs

Key battles:
> Sai Kishore vs Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik is in great form and is someone who loves to innovate with sweeps and reverse sweeps. The youngster has taken wickets early in the innings and has put the opposition on backfoot. The wicketkeeper batsman can change the momentum of the game at any point of time and it would be interesting to see how he takes on the left-arm spinner.

> Lakshmipathy Balaji vs Thalaivar Sargunam
The experience of Balaji against the six hitting abilities of Thalaivar makes it a mouth watering clash. Balaji mixes up his deliveries well upfront with his slower deliveries, bouncers and yorkers. Sargunam, who likes to go after the bowlers right from the first ball, will have his task cut out against Balaji who has already taken a fifer in the tournament.

> Antony Dhas vs Abhinav Mukund
Abhinav Mukund may have missed his century in the semi-finals against Dindigul, but the way he cleared those boundaries showed the form the southpaw is in. Gillies’ find of the tournament, Dhas, has picked wickets consistently for his team. These two facing each other will make it an interesting battle because of the form they both are in.

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