Easwaran, Aparajith set up Nellai’s six-wicket victory

With its fifth victory in as many matches, table-topper Nellai (10 points) inched closer to a play-off berth. Tiruppur, which was led by M Mohammed in the absence of the injured Aniruda Srikkanth, suffered its second successive defeat and has two points in three games.
K Easwaran set the tone for Nellai Royal Kings with a three-wicket haul in the powerplay
K Easwaran set the tone for Nellai Royal Kings with a three-wicket haul in the powerplay

CHENNAI: Pacer K Easwaran’s brilliant opening spell and Baba Aparajith’s composed half-century helped Nellai Royal Kings coast to a comprehensive six-wicket win over iDream Tiruppur Tamizhans in the Tamil Nadu Premier League 2022 at the Sri Ramakrishna College Ground in Coimbatore on Sunday.

With its fifth victory in as many matches, table-topper Nellai (10 points) inched closer to a play-off berth. Tiruppur, which was led by M Mohammed in the absence of the injured Aniruda Srikkanth, suffered its second successive defeat and has two points in three games.

Royal Kings restricted Tamizhans to a paltry 117 for eight after choosing to bowl, with Easwaran setting the tone in the powerplay with a three-wicket haul. Responding to Tiruppur’s total that was well below par, Nellai got the job done in just 15.3 overs.

Royal Kings was off to a flier as right-armer Easwaran, playing only his second match of the season, picked up a wicket in each of his first three overs. In his second ball, Easwaran (3/11 off 3 overs) delivered a superb outswinger that caught the edge off Tamizhans opener S Aravind’s bat (0) and went straight to wicketkeeper Baba Indrajith.

In Easwaran’s second over – fourth of the innings – Tiruppur opening batter S Siddharth (8) went for a big shot only to find NS Harish at mid-on. In the final over of the powerplay, Subramanian Anand (15) outside edged a wide delivery to Indrajith, who made no mistake.

Tamizhans never recovered from the triple blow, but Maan Bafna (37 off 35 balls, 2 fours, 1 six) ensured the team got past at least the 100-run mark. Left-arm spinner Harish (2/24) accounted for Bafna in the 18th over and later removed Aswin Crist (2).

In the second essay, Tiruppur sent Harish (7) back early, following which Aparajith (63 off 46 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes) and L Suryapprakash (28 off 28 balls, 3 fours) shared a 77-run alliance for Nellai’s second wicket. Aparajith could not stay until the end while G Ajitesh (10 not out of 2 balls, 1 four, 1 six) finished the chase with a maximum off Crist. “We started really well. We wanted this win desperately. We played good cricket,” said Aparajith, who was adjudged the ‘Man of the Match’.

BRIEF SCORES: iDream Tiruppur Tamizhans 117/8 in 20 overs (Maan Bafna 37, K Easwaran 3/11, NS Harish 2/24) lost to Nellai Royal Kings 121/4 in 15.3 overs (Baba Aparajith 63)

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