TNPL 2021, Match 1, LKK vs SS, Review – Debutant Sai Sudharsan steals show in tournament opener

TNPL 2021, Match 1, LKK vs SS, Review – Debutant Sai Sudharsan steals show in tournament opener

The left-hander notched 87 runs off 43 balls with eight fours and five sixes.

Lyca Kovai Kings vs Salem Spartans
Lyca Kovai Kings vs Salem Spartans. (Photo Source: TNPL)

Chennai, July 19: Young Bhardwaj Sai Sudharsan lit up the Tamil Nadu Premier League opener against Salem Spartans with a fantastic batting display at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Monday.

 The 20-year-old left-hander smashed 87 off 43 balls to power Kovai Kings to a strong 168 for 5 in 18 overs. Unfortunately, rain intervened in the proceedings and the match was called off with only 18 overs of play possible.

Sudharsan playing his first TNPL game took to the crease as a seasoned campaigner with his elegant stroke-play. The former Under-19 Tamil Nadu captain, smacked five sixes and eight fours, capitalising fully whenever the bowlers erred.

Sudarshan makes a grand entry

The youngster admitted he was nervous at the start but he surprised himself with this knock. “At the start, I had butterflies in my stomach and there was slight pressure since it was my debut game. It was a new experience but then it went the right way. I did not plan anything big, I went with the flow. I didn’t expect it to go this well,” he said later.

Sudharsan was ably assisted by opener Kavin Ravi (33 off 41 balls), who hung in there gamely, as together they raised 121 runs for the second wicket in 74 balls. While Sudharsan was all elegance, Kavin struggled to get going, managing just two fours. He survived a close call when he was dropped on 11 by Selvakumar Abishiek at extra-cover off Ganeshan Periyasamy.

Earlier, another left-hander V Ganga Sridhar Raju set the tone with a stroke filled 33 off 20 balls (4 fours, 2 sixes) after Spartans’ captain Daryl Ferrario won the toss and put the opposition in. The 28-year-old opener crunched 20 runs from fast bowler B Praanesh’s first over- second of the innings, before holing out to Akshay Srinivasan at mid-off off left-arm spinner M Ganesh Moorthi.

Periyasamy (2-18) lived up to his billing as last season’s man of the series by applying the brakes on the Kovai Kings innings, claiming two prize scalps in succession with slow off-cutters. First to go was the Lyca captain M Shahrukh Khan (1) failing to connect properly and Vijay Shankar, running in from long-on completing a smart catch.

Periyasamy delighted

Next ball, dangerman Sudharsan holed out to Ferrario at long-on. In the same over, Murugan Ashwin darted in from backward point to run out Uthirakumar Mukilesh (1) with a direct hit. No sooner than the over was completed it started pouring and players rushed to the pavilion.

Periyasamy was delighted with his display since he was playing after a long gap. The 27-year-old showed no rustiness and he did full justice to his reputation as a brilliant death overs bowler. “I played in the TNPL in 2019 after that we had a year gap, I hope that I gave my best performance,” he said.

All Lyca players sported a black armband in memory of their teammate Prasanth Rajesh, who passed away in October last year after a sudden heart attack.

Meanwhile, Lyca spinner Sivanandam Anandakumar was ruled out of the tournament earlier in the day following an injury he had suffered during training. He will be replaced by leg-spinner C Shriram.

On Tuesday, defending champions Chepauk Super Gillies will take on iDream Tiruppur Tamizhans. Tiruppur suffered a blow on Monday when their star player Dinesh Karthik ruled himself out of the tournament citing personal reasons. He has been replaced by all-rounder B Rishikanth.

Brief scores:

Lyca Kovai Kings 168-5 in 18 overs (V Ganga Sridhar Raju 33, Ravi Kavin 33, B Sai Sudharsan 87; Vijay Shankar 1-35, M Ganesh Moorthi 1-29, Ganeshan Periyasamy 2-18) vs Salem Spartans.

Result– Match abandoned due to rain.

Toss: Salem Spartans, chose to field

Debutants: Daryl Sundar Ferrario (Salem); Bhardwaj Sai Sudharsan (Kovai), Elangovan Srinivasan (Kovai)

Points: Lyca Kovai Kings 1, Salem Spartans 1