Spinners help Kovai return to winning ways

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 24, 2018 05:00 PM IST

Dindigul: Riding on a strong bowling effort, Lyca Kovai Kings registered a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Ruby Trichy Warriors in the 2018 Sankar Cement-TNPL at the NPR College ground in Natham (Dindigul) on Monday.

Ruby Trichy Warriors, who played their last match on July 14 in Tirunelveli, struggled to adapt to the conditions in Natham. Opener Bharath Shankar 24 (17b,4x4) began well for the Warriors before being run-out in the sixth over through a direct-hit from Kovai Kings captain Abhinav Mukund.

Debutant leg-spinner S Manigandan, bowling the seventh over, picked up back-to-back wickets in his first over, sending back S Aravind and Mani Bharati. Left-arm spinner S Ajith Ram then dismissed C Ganapathy to reduce the Warriors to 43/5.

S Suresh Kumar and Sonu Yadav tried to step up the run-rate in their partnership of 34 but leg-spinner MP Rajesh removed the latter to leave Suresh Kumar 35 (33b, 2x4, 2x6) fighting a lone battle.

Chasing 125 runs to win, Kovai Kings opener Shahrukh Khan hit 67 (40b,8x3,3x6) for his second fifty of the season. Captain Abhinav Mukund was unbeaten on 42 (35b,4x4,1x6) and finished the chase alongside R Rohith.

This win was Kovai Kings’ second win in four matches while Ruby Trichy Warriors tasted their first defeat in three matches.

"I was waiting for this opportunity since long and I felt really happy when I got my chance to perform. The captain and our bowling coach DJ Gokulakrishnan have been backing me up and been helping me in all my struggles. I learned a lot from them, and it has all been very useful to me," said Kovai leg-spinner S Manigandan who made his TNPL debut and made an impact in his first over, picking up two wickets.

"As a team, we failed to adapt to the pitch, and we did not read the wicket properly. We could have applied ourselves much better than how we did. Apart from Suresh Kumar, no one else tried adapting to the pitch," said Trichy opener Bharath Shankar after the loss.