Dindigul Dragons tasted its first defeat losing by six runs to Chepauk Super Gillies on Thursday. Dragons, who were chasing only for the second time in the tournament, could not get past the finish line despite R Ashwin’s superb 49 and MS Sanjay’s four-wicket haul.
Brief scores: Chepauk Super Gillies 172 for 6 (Gopinath 76, 53b, 4x9, 1x6, Thalaivan Sargunam 72, 50b, 4x4, 4x6, MS Sanjay 4/21) beat Dindigul Dragons 166 for 5 (N Jagadeesan 60, 53b, 6x4, 1x6, R Ashwin 49, 23b, 4x4, 4x6, R Alexander 1/25) by six runs.
Chasing 172, Dindigul got off to a great start as N Jagadeesan (60) continued with his rich vein of form and sscored heavily at the start. A flurry of wickets saw Ganga Sridhar Raju (20) Ashwin V (9) and Subramaniya Siva (1) depart in quick succession. But then skipper R Ashwin and Jagadeesan accelerated and started scoring runs at will. R Ashwin, who was dropped on 11 by Yo Mahesh off Sai Kishore, was in incredible form as he tormented Gillies’ bowlers. Even after Jagadeesan’s dismissal, R Ashwin cleared the boundaries with ease and used his feet against the spinners with devastating effect. His big-hitting ensured that the equation was down to 30 runs required off the last two overs.
It may be noted that at one point Dragons needed 70 runs from 30 deliveries – a stat which highlights the effect R Ashwin had on the game! With 19 runs needed in the last over, Tamil Kumaran (1 for 36) gave away 12 in the first three deliveries – which also included a no-ball.
Earlier, R Ashwin had opted for a spin-heavy attack and tinkered with as many as five bowlers during the course of play. Gillies, who won the toss and elected to bat first, were aided by Thalaivan Sargunam (72) and K Gopinath (76) as the duo smashed Dragons’ bowlers at will. Sargunam was particularly harsh as he smashed four boundaries and as many sixes in his 50-ball knock. Also, Gopinath was lucky on 16 when R Ashwin dropped a skier off Sunny Kumar Singh.
Gillies raced to 100 in the eleventh over as both openers looked unstoppable at one point. The 144-run partnership was finally broken by MS Sanjay (4 for 21) who disturbed Thalaivan’s stumps. Sanjay later dismissed three more batsmen, including Gopinath, as the visitors lost six wickets for 15 runs. After scoring 98 runs in the first ten overs, Gillies could manage only 74 runs in the last ten. Dragons’ bowlers bounced back and restricted Gillies with Sanjay and T Natarajan (1 for 34) leading the way. Even R Ashwin (1 for 34) chipped in with the wicket of U Sasidev (4) as the rest of the batting line-up contributed only with single digits.
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