TNPL 2024: Spartans make light work of chase to condemn R. Ashwin-led Dragons to first loss

There were no Monday Blues for the home fans as they relished host SKM Salem Spartans’ commanding seven-wicket win over Dindigul Dragons in a Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) fixture at the Salem Cricket Foundation Ground.

Spartans were never in trouble while hunting down a target of 150 on a pitch that was a bit two-paced. After R. Kavin (46, 34b, 8×4) started the fireworks, R. Vivek (51 n.o., 28b, 5×4, 3×6) unleashed a flurry of lofted shots in the middle overs to make short work of the chase. Vivek’s winning shot, scooping a short ball over the wicketkeeper, embodied Spartans’ no-holds-barred approach.

Earlier, after opting to bat, Dragons openers Shivam Singh and R. Ashwin were put under duress early through some disciplined bowling. The pressure finally gave in as Shivam and Ashwin lost their wickets to Sunny Sandhu (two for 23) and S. Harish Kumar (two for 28) respectively.

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Birthday boy Baba Indrajith (51, 34b, 4×4, 2×6) and R. Vimal Khumar (47, 32b, 3×4, 2×6) then steadied the ship with a 64-run partnership. With Dragons looking good at 87 for two, the game saw probably one of the shortest rain delays in cricket with the ground-staff not even getting to cover the square fully before the drizzle stopped.

However, the interruption affected the Dindigul outfit as it lost wickets at regular intervals. Vimal ran himself out after hitting the ball straight to mid-on before Harish sent back Indrajith to reel things back for the host. S. Dinesh Raj’s cameo (20, 10b) took the total to 149, but it was going to Spartans’ night after that.

The scores:

Dindigul Dragons 149/9 in 20 overs (Vimal Khumar 47, B. Indrajith 51, Sunny Sandhu 2/23, S. Harish Kumar 2/28) lost to SKM Salem Spartans 150/3 in 18.1 overs (R. Kavin 46, R. Vivek 51 n.o.); Toss: Dragons.

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