DINDIGUL: The clash on Sunday between Albert Tuti Patriots and Madurai Super Giant was touted as one where both teams were supposed to just go through the motions. What else can you expect from an inconsequential rubber — its result didn’t change the dynamics of qualification — involving the top and bottom sides of the second edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
Go through their motions they did in their last league fixture at the NPR College ground in Natham, but the final outcome did more than just add an extra match. It underscored the chasm between the Patriots — who obviously won — and the other teams, one that the former have been widening by consistently dishing out quality-laden performances.
An apt example for supporting the above statement is the Patriots’ 137-run margin of victory against the Super Giant, breaking the previous TNPL record of 122. The latter was — unsurprisingly — set by them last season. That, and the fact that this triumph has extended the Patriots’ winning streak to 12, with their last defeat coming via a Super-Over decider against the Dindigul Dragons last September.
Two marquee men — Abhinav Mukund, currently touring Sri Lanka with the India contingent, and Dinesh Karthik, who hasn’t featured in four games, including this one — have been reduced to mere names on the Patriots’ roster. Even L Balaji hung up his TNPL boots before the meet.
Yet, barring their 7-run opening squeak-through against Dindgul Dragons, the Patriots have always coasted to victory. Their other six wins have come with a minimum of either 27 runs (while defending) or 6 wickets (while chasing) to spare.
The secret — or a part of it, at least — revealed itself a couple of times on Sunday. Winning with 137 runs to spare in a T20 can definitely be termed as a vivisection of the opposition. But, the Patriots weren’t handed this victory on a silver platter.
Washington Sundar and Kaushik Gandhi had been their pillars with the bat but they failed. That’s where the defending champs showed their mettle as SP Nathan smoked a 30-ball 77.
Brief scores: Albert Tuti Patriots 196/6 in 20 ovs (SP Nathan 77; M Poiyamozhi 3/34) bt Madurai Super Giant 59 in 8.5 ovs (M Ganesh Moorthi 3/20); Dindigul Dragons 145/8 in 20 ovs (N Jagadeesan 53) lost to Chepauk Super Gillies 146/5 in 19.4 ovs (U Sasidev 45)