TUTI Patriots are the first team to reach the final of TNPL 2016 Photo Courtesy: TNPL
TUTI Patriots are the first team to reach the final of TNPL 2016 Photo Courtesy: TNPL

Tuti Patriots all-round performance sail them through final in the inaugural edition of TNPL defeating Dindigul Dragons by 38 runs on Friday at Indian Cement Company Ground in Tirunelveli. It was Abhinav Mukund and Dinesh Karthik’s outstanding partnership that ensured Patriots ended with an above par total of 187. Their highest total has been 171 in this tournament so far and with the batting unit putting all the efforts, Patriots were at the top. In response, Dragons top run-getter N Jagadeesan did score a fifty that ultimately went in vain. Thanks to Washington Sundar’s last magical spells that sealed the spot for Patriots in the final.

Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Patriots Kaushik Gandhi and Mukund started off the innings. They were off the mark with a single with T Natarajan, Dragons top wicket-taker this tournament, giving away maximum runs against Patriots. Gandhi looked a bit shaky as he was unable to get the boundaries instantly, while Mukund continued his Duleep Trophy form in TNPL as well and went on to score quick fire 55-ball 91 that included 10 fours and a six. After Gandhi was dismissed by Yazh Arun Mozhi, SP Nathan tried to get add some runs with a single boundary. However, he failed to capitulate on the same and ended up being dismissed for 11 by Murugan Ashwin.

Once Karthik joined hands with Mukund, there was a run parade and galore of sixes along with fours. Karthik handled the big shots as he smashed 4 sixes and a boundary to reach his score of 48, unable to get his fifty. With the fall of Karthik, Patriots started falling and final over by Sunny Kumar Singh saw him gaining 3 for 34 that included Mukund, Subramanian Anand and Sundar. ALSO READ: Dragons vs Patriots, Live Streaming: Watch TNPL 2016, SF 1

Chasing the target of 188, Dragons Jagadeesan was the star of the innings as he once again smashed fifty that went in vain once again. He had scored a fifty against Lyca Kovai Kings as well and the game lied to Kings at the end. S Raghunath, who opened the innings with Jagadeesan, could not provide helping hand for long and was dismissed for 7 with Sundar getting his first wicket after the 5 th over. Soon, there were wickets galore as Ganga Sridhar Raju and Wilkins Victor, who had put up strong partnership to keep Dragons in the playoffs against Chepauk Super Gillies with their fifties, were gone for golden ducks respectively.

Ashwin Venkataraman did try to provide helping hand with his 40 runs in the middle. None that could help Dragons go past the total of 188. The chasing total in TNPL has been 167 and Dragons could only manage to respond with 149 for 8 at the end of their innings, losing the glory to final. For Patriots it was Sundar ending his figures with 4 for 23. Somewhere Patriots Sundar could have rewarded to wrap up Dragons innings soon, but it was Mukund who deserved it all to help them post a mammoth total on board.

Patriots have had a very good bowling unit which have restricted opposition to low scores and have done that on previous occasions. The bowling is spearheaded by Balaji, and with great support from Aswin Crist, Aushik Srinivas and Washington Sundar. Karthik’s inclusion has surely bolstered the batting unit. The team has won three games out of three and with another win, they will be happy to seal their spot in finals. However, their batting has been an area of concern with the team not able to post a huge score but with help of Karthik they went beyond the 171 score in TNPL. Their batting line-up hasn’t come up good in the tournament and this time they overcame that weakness. ALSO READ: BCCI stops Ashwin from playing in TNPL semi-final

Kaushik Gandhi’s form has been a huge positive for the team, especially when the tournament is reaching its conclusion. Gandhi is now the second-highest run-getter in the tournament with 298 runs. Also, Sundar, the other opener, has been doing well with both bat and ball. With inclusion of Karthik, it has only got better and Mukund coming to the side, the experience has boosted for Patriots further.

As for Dragons, The team has a good mix of experience and youth, in both departments. Their spin-bowling has variety, plus they also have two in-form batsmen in Jagadeesan and Raju. Jagadeesan, who has been the top run-getter in the tournament (338 runs), has given the team superb start so far in TNPL. MS Sanjay, the young left-arm spinner, has been impressive. Even Natarajan’s yorkers in the death overs have won Dragons many games. However, he went with only a wicket in this semi-final against Dragons.

In the previous match for Patriots, they won by 33 runs and handed Madurai Super Giants another loss to excel in the semi-final spot. Gandhi, who scored a stylish 55-ball 86, was the chief architect for Patriots who tallied an impressive 167 for 6. Gandhi paced his innings beautifully as he rotated the strike early on and went for the big shots. He and Maaruthi Raghav put on an impressive 37-ball 56-run partnership which set up the innings perfectly for Patriots. ALSO READ: TUTI Patriots thrash Madurai Super Giants by 33 runs

Gandhi was also involved in a 60-ball 85-run partnership with Washington Sundar with the latter scoring a fine 34. Gandhi hit two back-to-back sixes off Shijit Chandran before the latter had him stumped. Chasing 168, Giants got off to the worst possible start as the hard hitting Arun Karthick fell for 5.

As for Dragons, they lost the match against Lyca Kovai Kings by 16 runs on Tuesday. Chasing 148 for victory, Dragons, who had three debutants, were restricted to 131 for 8, despite Jagadeesan’s fine half-century. Chasing a tricky total, Dragons got off to a slow start – their slowest in the power-play – and lost the early wicket of Raju, clean-bowled by Vignesh. At the half-way mark, Dragons had reached only 45 runs and required more than 100 to win their sixth game in the league stage

Jagadeesan (58) later blasted Mohammed for back-to-back sixes and gave the much needed momentum for Dragons. Jagadeesan also bought up his fourth half-century of the tournament as he continued to stamp his authority. Dragons lost five wickets in a space of 16 runs and it caused a mini-collapse that sealed the match for Kings.

Brief Scores:

Tuti Patriots 187 for 7 in 20 overs (Abhinav Mukund 91, Dinesh Karthik 48; Sunny Kumar Singh 3 for 34) beat Dindigul Dragons (N Jagadeesan 59, Ashwin Venketaraman 40; Washington Sundar 4 for 23) by 38 runs