TNPL 2021: Sai Sudarshan of Kovai Kings sparkles in rain-hit match

The youngster admitted he was nervous at the start but he surprised himself with this knock. “At the start I had butterflies in my stomach and there was slight pressure since it was my debut game. It was a new experience but then it went the right way. I did not plan anything big, I went with the flow. I didn’t expect it to go this well,” he said.

Sudharsan was ably assisted by opener Kavin Ravi (33 off 41 balls), who hung in there gamely, as together they raised 121 runs for the second wicket in 74 balls. While Sudharsan was all elegance, Kavin struggled to get going, managing just two fours. He survived a close call when he was dropped on 11 by Selvakumar Abishiek at extra-cover off Ganeshan Periyasamy.

Earlier, another left-hander V Ganga Sridhar Raju set the tone with a stroke filled 33 off 20 balls (4 fours, 2 sixes) after Spartans’ captain Daryl Ferrario won the toss and put the opposition in.

The 28-year-old opener crunched 20 runs from fast bowler B Praanesh’s first over- second of the innings, before holing out to Akshay Srinivasan at mid-off off left-arm spinner M Ganesh Moorthi.

Periyasamy (2-18) lived up to his billing as last season’s man of the series by applying the brakes on the Kovai Kings innings, claiming two prize scalps in succession with slow off-cutters.

First to go was the Lyca captain M Shahrukh Khan (1) failing to connect properly and Vijay Shankar, running in from long on completing a smart catch. Next ball, dangerman Sudharsan holed out to Ferrario at long on. In the same over, Murugan Ashwin darted in from backward point to run out Uthirakumar Mukilesh (1) with a direct hit.

No sooner than the over was completed it started pouring and players rushed to the pavilion. The Kovai players sported a black armband in memory of their teammate Prasanth Rajesh, who passed away in October last year after a sudden heart-attack.

Meanwhile, Kovai spinner Sivanandam Anandakumar was ruled out of the tournament following an injury he had suffered during training. He will be replaced by leg-spinner C Shriram.

On Tuesday (July 20), defending champions Chepauk Super Gillies will take on Tiruppur Tamizhans. Tiruppur suffered a blow when their star player Dinesh Karthik ruled himself out of the tournament citing personal reasons. He has been replaced by all-rounder B Rishikanth.

Brief scores: Lyca Kovai Kings: 168-5 in 18 overs (V Ganga Sridhar Raju 33, Ravi Kavin 33, B Sai Sudharsan 87; Vijay Shankar 1-35, M Ganesh Moorthi 1-29, Ganeshan Periyasamy 2-18) vs Salem Spartans. Match abandoned due to rain.

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