CHENNAI: B Anirudh Sitaram’s composed half-century combined with a disciplined bowling performance helped Siechem Madurai Panthers defeat Chepauk Super Gillies by four wickets in the Tamil Nadu Premier League 2022 in Tirunelveli on Saturday.
Opting to bowl at the ICL Sankar Nagar Ground after winning the toss, Madurai let Chepauk score only 135 for eight off its stipulated 20 overs. Pacer Kiran Akash (3/34), who took the new ball, picked up a crucial three-wicket haul while mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy (2/28) underlined his credentials by scalping two.
Chasing 136 for its maiden victory of the season, Panthers reached its target with 11 balls left in the bank. A lot of credit must go to Anirudh (58 not out off 41 balls, 7 fours, 1 six) as the Madurai No.3 batter played responsibly to take the team home.
“My role was to rotate the strike and stay until the end. It was important for me to keep the momentum going. Lucky that it came off in the first match itself,” said Anirudh, who was named the ‘Man of the match’ for his influential innings.
Invited to bat, CSG was off to the worst possible start as it lost both openers – skipper Kaushik Gandhi (1) and Narayan Jagadeesan (1) – within the first two overs. In the opening over of the match, debutant Sunny Sandhu (1/27) sent back Kaushik, who holed out at mid-on while trying to take the aerial route.
In the very next over, Kiran induced an outside edge off Jagadeesan’s bat as wicketkeeper KB Arun Karthick made no mistake. After Kiran earned his second scalp by dismissing S Sujay (11), Varun delivered a double-wicket over to leave Chepauk at 37 for five.
In the final over of the powerplay, Varun trapped Sonu Yadav (9) in front of the wickets while disturbing Rajagopal Sathish’s (4) stumps. CSG was in deep water at 51 for seven in the ninth over, but U Sasidev (58 off 43 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes) and Harish Kumar (39 not out off 43 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) steadied the ship with an 82-run stand for the eighth wicket.
Replying to CSG’s total of 135, Panthers began well with the bat, with Arun Karthick (31 off 22 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) bringing his experience to the table. Although he lost his opening partner V Aaditya (10) early, Arun Karthick added 50 runs for the second wicket with Anirudh, an alliance which tilted the match in Madurai’s favour.
But, Super Gillies came up with a triple blow in a span of just three overs as Panthers went from 74 for one to 82 for four. However, with help from K Rajkumar (19) and Sandhu (14 not out), Anirudh secured the points for the Season 3 champion. Left-arm spinner R Alexander (3/20) kept Chepauk in the contest, but received little support from his teammates.
“After two consecutive defeats, the team will have 10 days to rectify the mistakes and get a win,” said a disappointed Kaushik, whose CSG side will be back in action on July 6 against Ruby Trichy Warriors in Dindigul.
BRIEF SCORES: Chepauk Super Gillies 135/8 in 20 overs (U Sasidev 58, Harish Kumar 39*, Kiran Akash 3/34, Varun Chakravarthy 2/28) lost to Siechem Madurai Panthers 136/6 in 18.1 overs (B Anirudh Sitaram 58*, R Alexander 3/20)