CHENNAI: Double defending champion Tamil Nadu suffered a shock six-run defeat at the hands of Chhattisgarh in its opening match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Tuesday.
After restricting Chhattisgarh to 132 for five in the Elite Group E match, Tamil Nadu, which brought on opener C Hari Nishaanth as ‘Impact Player’, could manage only 126 for nine despite debutant G Ajitesh’s (23 off 8 balls, 1 four, 3 sixes) cameo at the end.
Defending nine runs in the last over, pacer Ravi Kiran (3/26) stunningly gave away only two runs and bagged three wickets – Shahrukh Khan (11), R Sai Kishore (0) and Ajitesh. Earlier, Hari Nishaanth, who replaced left-arm pacer Thangarasu Natarajan in the eleven, struck a patient 33 off 36 deliveries (2 fours, 1 six) while skipper Baba Aparajith (18) and B Sai Sudharsan (18) failed to convert their starts.
Off-spinner Sahban Khan (2/21) removed Hari Nishaanth and Aparajith, in the 11th and 13th over respectively, after coming on as ‘Impact Player’. In the first essay, captain Harpreet Singh Bhatia (49 off 40 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) and Ajay Mandal (38 not out off 32 balls, 1 four, 3 sixes) steered Chhattisgarh to 132 for five with a 48-run alliance for the fifth wicket.
Sandeep Warrier (1/18) and Aparajith (1/28) gave Tamil Nadu a good start, reducing Chhattisgarh to 21 for two in the fourth over, while Varun Chakravarthy delivered economical figures of 2/12 off four overs. Chhattisgarh was in a spot of bother at 69 for four in the 12th over, but Harpreet and Ajay guided their team to a respectable total.
BRIEF SCORES: Chhattisgarh 132/5 in 20 overs (Harpreet 49, Ajay 38*, Varun 2/12) bt Tamil Nadu 126/9 in 20 overs (Hari Nishaanth 33, R Kiran 3/26, Sahban 2/21)