TNPL 2019: Nishaanth, Jagadeesan make it four in four for Dindigul Dragons
Hari Nishaanth C of Dindigul Dragons lifting his bat after scoring 81 runs off 56 balls against iDream Karakudi Kaalai

Dindigul Dragons’ openers C Hari Nishaanth and Narayan Jagadeesan rewrote the record books of the Tamil Nadu Twenty20 Premier League (TNPL) with their 161-run partnership to down iDream Karaikudi Kaalai by 10 wickets at the India Cements Ltd-Sankar Nagar ground, here on Monday.

After captain Aniruda Srikkanth struck his highest score in TNPL (98 off 59 balls, 7 fours, 7 sixes) to power iDKK to 158-7 in 20 overs, the in-form DD openers capitalised on their rivals’ lapses in the field to record an emphatic victory with three overs to spare.

It was DD’s fourth victory on the trot and they continue to be the only unbeaten team in the league so far. They top the standings with eight points from four games. Nishaanth struck 81 not out off 56 balls (4 fours, 5 sixes) while Jagadeesan slammed 78 not out off 47 balls, (7 fours, 3 sixes) during their record-breaking partnership which turned out to be the highest for all wickets in the tournament. The previous best was of 145 runs for the second wicket between VB Thiravallur Veerans’ Baba Aparajith and NS Chaturved against Ruby Trichy Warriors here in 2016.

It also bettered the previous best opening partnership of 144 runs between Thalaivan Sargunam (72 runs) and KH Gopinath (69 runs) of Chepauk Super Gillies against Dindigul Dragons at the NPR College ground, Natham, Dindigul in 2016.

iDKK had their chances but they did not latch on to it and paid a heavy price. After Sunil Sam had bowled a superb first over, giving away just one run, Nishanth edged pacer Velidi Lakshman but a diving Dinesh Karthik couldn’t hold on to it.

Nishaanth, who had hit the previous two balls for sixes, was on 13 and DD score was also 13. The next opportunity came by in the 12th over but by then DD were well on the way to victory. Nishaanth got another life with the team score on 107 when R Rajkumar dropped him when he was on 66. The fielder ran to his right to get right under Nishaanth’s slice off pacer M Ashwin Kumar but spilled it.

The left-handed Nishaanth did not allow the iDKK bowlers to settle into any rhythm. After the assault on Lakshman in the second over, he went after left-arm spinner S Mohan Prasath tonking two sixes and a four in succession. It fetched 18 runs for DD and there was no looking back as they raced to 58-0 after the Powerplay.

While Nishanth was all fire and brimstone at the start, Jagadeesan was in cruise control chipping away with boundaries before he finished the match with a couple of sixes in the 17th over off left-arm spinner Maan K Bafna.

Earlier, iDKK captain Aniruda led from the front after winning the toss and deciding to bat first. No other fellow batsmen dominated the DD attack as the 32-year-old, who was unlucky to miss a deserving hundred, holing out in the deep off the last ball of the innings.

While Aniruda went hammer and tongs from one end, the batsmen at the other failed to give him company for long with the highest partnership being, 46 runs off 30 balls for the fifth wicket with M Shajahan (16). His impact on the innings could be gauged by the fact that the other seven batsmen could collectively muster just 55 runs amongst them.

Aniruda was severe on two DD bowlers M Mohammed and Ravichandran Ashwin scoring 58 runs off them. He hit three sixes and two fours off Mohammed to collect 33 runs from 16 balls, and off the 15 balls that he faced from Ashwin he scored 26 runs, hitting two sixes and a four.

iDKK were earlier boosted by the inclusion of their international star Dinesh Karthik, who was playing his first match for the franchise in two years. Last year he had missed out as he was on national duty in England.

“Always excited to coming and playing for TNPL. Obviously, it’s my home state and I’m always happy to play with the boys. It’s something that I’ve always enjoyed over a period of time so I’m really looking forward to it,” Karthik said before the match.

The star battle between Karthik and Ashwin lasted only for two overs. The iDKK wicketkeeper played across to an Ashwin off-break, in his second over and was bowled.

Meanwhile, iDream Karaikudi Kaalai’s R Rajkumar was charged with Level 1 offence for showing dissent and under the Code of Conduct for Player and Team officials. Rajkumar pleaded guilty and has been reprimanded

Earlier, iDKK made four changes to the team that last took the field, against Chepauk Super Gillies. Opener V Aditya, wicketkeeper R Kavin, all-rounder Yo Mahesh, off-spinner S Swaminathan were dropped to make way for L Surya Prakash, Dinesh Karthik, RD Ashwin Kumar and V Lakshman. Both teams travel to NPR College ground, Natham, Dindigul for the next round of matches. iDKK face Tuti Patriots on Thursday while DD meet Ruby Trichy Warriors on Saturday.

Brief scores: Dindigul Dragons 161-0 in 17 overs (C Hari Nishaanth 81 not out, Narayan Jagadeesan 78 not out) beat iDream Karaikudi Kaalai 158-7 in 20 overs (Aniruda Srikkanth 98, L Surya Prakash 20; Rohit Ramalingam 2-23, M Mohammed 2-43) by 10 wickets.