LUCKNOW: Defending champion Tamil Nadu outplayed Odisha by five wickets in a group E fixture of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament, here on Wednesday.
Skipper Baba Aparajith (63 not out) played the role of sheet anchor to perfection, notching up an unbeaten 63-run knock after Tamil Nadu bowlers, led by T Natarajan, restricted Odisha to below 150.
Opting to bat, Odisha rode on half-centuries by Subhranshu Senapati (65) and Anshy Rath (51) to post 141/3. In reply, Tamil Nadu got off to a strong start despite Gujarat Titans player Sai Sudharsan’s (14) dismissal in the fourth over.
CSK opener N Jagadeesan (35) slammed three boundaries and a six and added 48 runs with Aparajith. But the Odisha bowlers did well to stage a comeback as they picked up a flurry of wickets to rattle the defending champion.
With the wickets falling like ninepins at the other end, Aparajith kept his calm and continued with business as usual. The 28-year-old batting all-rounder sent the ball to the fence seven times and was ably supported by M Shahrukh Khan (19) as the two shared a vital 46-ran stand.
In the end, Tamil Nadu knocked off the target with seven balls to spare. Earlier, out-of-favour left-arm medium pacer Natarajan (2/32) did well to break the partnership between Senapati and Rath. The Tamil Nadu bowlers then bowled well at the death as the Odisha batters failed to accelerate. In another match in the group, Gaurav Puri slammed an unbeaten 47-ball 93 to power Chandigarh to a 66-run win over Sikkim.
Puri put up six-hitting exhibition as he sent the ball over the fence nine times and along with Ankit Kaushik (65) helped Chandigarh post a daunting 178/3.
In reply, Sikkim could only manage 112/9 in its quota of 20 overs as Sandeep Sharma picked a three-wicket haul (3/22). The third match in the group between Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
BRIEF SCORES: Odisha 141/3 in 20 overs (S Senapati 65, A Rath 51) lost to Tamil Nadu 143/5 in 18.5 overs (B Aparajith 63*)