KAALAI CRASH OUT DESPITE BEATING WARRIORS
Karaikudi Kaalai were eliminated from the India Cements TN Premier League despite a nail-biting three-wicket win against Ruby Kanchi Warriors at the India Cements Limited Ground at Sankarnagar on Wednesday.
Kaalai were edged out by Lyca Kovai Kings for the semifinals on basis of a superior run-rate.
The first semifinal will be contested between Dindigul Dragons and Albert Tuti Patriots at the same venue on Friday while Chepauk Super Gillies will play Lyca Kovai Kings in the other game (in Chennai) on Saturday.
Kaalai had the worst possible start to their run-chase when they lost four wickets before the second over thanks to Jagannathan Kaushik’s exploits.
Karaikudi, who were in pursuit of a 121-run target, needed to win in 11.4 overs to qualify for the semifinals.
Their slam-bang approach later resulted in a flurry wickets which meant that they were pushed on the back foot early on.
Kaalai, who had tried to change the batting order, started aggressively right from the beginning of the innings.
But they lost the wickets of Srikkanth Anirudha, Vijay Kumar, Badrinath, Ganapathy Chandrasekar and R Rajkumar just within 15 deliveries of the start of the innings.
R Srinivasan and M Shajahan later stitched together a partnership of 69 runs from 57 deliveries, as Kaalai tried to reach target within 11.4 overs.
But then the initial collapse prevented the team from having any chance to go to the next round.
Srinivasan held one end and scored a composed half-century to take the team ahead of Warriors in the points table.
Kaalai have now displaced VB Thiruvallur Veerans and have finished at fifth in the points table.
Earlier, Warriors, who won the toss and elected to bat first, had a very slow start to their power-play innings.
Mohan Prasath struck in the fifth over when he removed Bharath Shankar, as the latter was earlier dropped by Subramanium Badrinath at cover.
Just as Warriors tried to steady the ship, Nilesh Subramanian hit a Ganapathi Chandrasekar delivery straight to Rajkumar at mid-off.
Kaalai lost three wickets, including the wicket of Subramanium, in a gap of five runs.
Suresh Babu, who breached the defences of opposition skipper Baba Indrajith, and Badrinath, whose brilliant diving run-out saw the end of Shahrukh Khan, turned the game around.
Though there was a 30-run partnership between Akkil Srinath and J Kousik, wherein the pair hit three boundaries and a six, still both of them got run-out.
The runs dried up and the Kaalai spinners came to the party, as they gave away just 58 runs in 12 overs between them.
Warriors simply couldn’t accelerate at the end due to the loss of early wickets and run-outs.
Kaalai, despite winning the contest in the end, could not qualify for the semifinals and crashed out of contention for the last-four.
Brief scores: Ruby Kanchi Warriors 120 for 8 ( J Kousik 25, 21b, 3×4, Sonu Yadav 1/13, Mohan Prasath 1/16) lost to Karaikudi Kaalai 122 for 7 ( R Srinivasan 61 not-out, 43b, 7×4, 1×6, M Shajahan 32, 31b, 2×4, 1×6, J Koushik 3/29, M Prabhu 2/20) by three wickets.