SALEM: Riding on valuable contributions from captain M Kaushik Gandhi and R Sathish, Chepauk Super Gillies stormed into the final of the TNPL beating Nellai Royal Kings by five wickets in the Qualifier 1 here on Wednesday. Set to chase 141, the three-time champion got there with four balls to spare. Royal Kings will now take on Kovai Kings in Qualifier 2 on Friday. Kaushik scored 40 (46b, 1x4, 2x6) and the seasoned Sathish was unbeaten on 31 (19b, 4x4, 1x6). Chepauk was off to a shaky start losing both N Jagadeesan and Radhakrishnan for zero in the first over to V Athisayaraj Davidson. It was then that Kaushik and R Sai Kishore, who scored a valuable 43 (27b, 2x4, 4x6), added 78 runs for the third wicket to steady the innings.
Earlier, Royal Kings seemed to struggle against the Chepauk bowling unit, with one of its openers Harish Kumar NS (3 runs off 5 balls), falling to Siddharth M in the third over.
Coming in at number three, the ever-reliant Aparajith B put on the calm hat, trying to forge a partnership with opener Suryapprakash (19 runs off 22 balls), but was left hanging when the latter fell to a leg before wicket of Siddharth’s bowling. Orange-Cap holder Sanjay Yadav came in next, and the entire Royal Kings batting depended on the duo to take them to a favourable score.
It was not to be the Royal Kings’ day when the well-settled Aparajith B (33 runs off 31 balls) miscued a short ball from Sandeep Warrier only to find the safe hands of Chepauk skipper Kaushik Gandhi M. It was left to Sanjay Yadav (21 runs off 16 balls) to carry forward the innings alone, but Sandeep Warrier was right on the money with his bouncers having the batsman caught off a top edge by wicket-keeper Jagadeesan N.
BRIEF SCORES: Nellai Royal Kings 140 in 20 overs lost to Chepauk Super Gillies 141/5 in 19.2 overs (M Kaushik Gandhi 40, R Sai Kishore 43, M Karthick 3/14)