With this, Madurai earned the right to challenge Dindigul Dragons in the final of the third edition of the league to be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. Abhishek Tanwar took three wickets in his four overs to restrict Kovai Kings to 125 for seven and then Arun Karthik played a patient innings of 79 not out as Madurai won with 10 balls to spare.
In its chase, Madurai lost Tushar Raheja and Thalaivan Sargunam in the first six overs but Arun Karthik stayed put and prevented further loss in the company of captain Rohit, who made 30 off 37 balls. The pair put on 76 runs for the third wicket.
Batting first, Kovai lost Shahrukh Khan in the very first over as he was caught by Arun Karthik off Abhishek Tanwar, who added one more in his next over as he sent back Rohith caught by Shijil Chandran.
From 11 for two in the third over, Kovai recovered to 59 for two in 11 overs in its attempt to put up a decent total. J Kousik gave the much-needed breakthrough for Madurai when he
had Mukund caught by Arun Karthik for 28 off 30 balls. The left-handed batsman went for a drive and could only manage an edge. Kovai got a gift in the same over when Antony Dhas was run out.
That halted the Kovai progress and it limped to get past the 100-mark. Prasanth Rajesh and Venkataraman plundered 20 runs from the 18th over bowled by J Kousik. Otherwise, it would not have reached the total it finally posted.
Abhishek Tanwar came back in the last over and snapped up a wicket and there were two run outs too as Kovai Kings could not reach the 140-mark. Prasanth Rajesh was one of the victims, making 29 off 24 balls with a six and two fours.
BRIEF SCORES: Kovai Kings 125 for seven in 20 overs (Ashwin Venkataraman 45, Abhishek Tanwar 3/28) lost to Madurai Panthers 131 for three in 18.2 overs (KB Arun Karthik 79*, D Rohit 30)