DRAGONS THUMP KAALAI TO CLINCH SEMI-FINAL BERTH
Dindigul Dragons marched into the semifinals of the India Cements TN Premier League as they earned a comprehensive seven-wicket win over Karaikudi Kaalai at the NPR College Ground in Natham on Sunday.
Both teams now have a game more to play in the league stage.
Kaalai, who won the toss and chose to bat, got off to a slow start as they lost both the openers in the power-play.
Anirudha Srikkanth (36) and skipper S Badrinath (27) tried to resuscitate the Kaalai innings with a steady 36-ball 30-run partnership in the middle overs.
Badrinath was later dismissed by R Ashwin as he hit a shot right into the latter’s hands.
Kaalai hit a roadblock post the loss of Badrinath and lost wickets at regular intervals.
Though Srikkanth tried to accelerate the innings still Kaalai never looked good enough to score a big total.
Their lower-order had no answers to T Natarajan’s (4 for 21) Yorkers which yielded wickets in the death overs.
Even M Ashwin (3 for 30) had a good match as he tormented Kaalai to no end.
Kaalai could only manage 125 for 9 after losing wickets on regular intervals.
Dragons, who tweaked their batting line-up, lost the wicket of skipper Subramanium Siva to Chandrasekar Ganapathy, thus giving Kaalai hope.
Jagadeesan was Ganapathy’s next victim after the former hit a shot straight to Suresh Babu at mid-on.
But Ganga Sridhar Raju and Wilkins Victor stitched a partnership of 89 from deliveries 59, and ensured that Dragons were on their way to the semi-finals.
Both batsmen completed half centuries and made sure that Dragons, who crossed the finish line with 21 balls to spare, became the first team to qualify for the semifinals.
Brief scores: Karaikudi Kaalai 125 for 9 (Srikkanth Anirudha 36, 29b, 1×4, 2×6, T Natarajan 4/21, M Ashwin 3/30) lost to Dindigul Dragons 126 for 3 (Sridhar Raju 56 not out, 48b, 5×4, 2×6, Wilkins Victor 50, 35b, 5×4, 2×6, Ganga Ganapathy Chandrasekar 2/23) by seven wickets.