DINDIGUL: There were two stretches of 10 minutes or so at NPR College ground on Wednesday when the swathes of red and gold occupying the galleries remained still. Ruby Trichy Warriors’ Bharath Shankar and Akkil Srinaath in those durations were taking the fight to the Chepauk Super Gillies with the bat, making the economies of R Satish, Tamil Kumaran and Antony Dhas surge like an in-demand stock. But in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, the Gillies have mastered the art of regrouping when the chips are down, as evidenced by the duration of these two periods of duress. Just when Shankar looked set to chug along to a 50-plus score, he miscued an R Alexander ball to deep square-leg.
R Sai Kishore had built up pressure on Shankar in the previous over, giving away only five runs. Srinaath too was inveigled by Yo Mahesh’s lack of pace, only a few balls after biffing a few blows off Das. From 80/1 in 9 overs, the Warriors were pulled back to 132/7 in their 17 allocated overs (because of showers before the start), courtesy a boundary drought of 39 balls brought about by the Gillies’ discipline with the ball. Bouncing back while being subjected to pressure is not new territory to the Gillies, especially when taking into their team’s overall forte: contributions from all fronts.
Take for example their run to the final — they lost to Albert Tuti Patriots — in the previous edition of the TNPL. Dhas topped the wickets chart with 14 scalps, while Alexander and Sai Kishore did their bit for 22 wicket between them. The same goes for their batting order. Though H Gopinath was the only Gillies representative among the top-5 run-getters with 273, he had back-up in the form of X Thalaivan Sargunam and SV Saravanan, who piled on 495 runs more.
The Gillies script this year has tread a similar narrative. Gopinath’s 160 in five innings (at 53.67) has been complemented ably by Sargunam and S Karthik, with the latter two accounting for 213 more. Sai Kishore is currently has the second-most number of wickets (11), and he has found apt allies in the form of Satish and Alexander, who have accounted for 12 more with under-7 economy rates. “Simply put, we are a family,” said Gillies coach Hemang Badani after their win against Madurai Super Giant in Chennai on Sunday, aptly summing up the secret behind Gillies’ qualification for the knockout stages for the second time.
Brief scores: Ruby Trichy Warriors 132/7 in 17 ovs (Indrajith 34; Mahesh 3/21, Kumaran 2/27) lost to Chepauk Super Gillies 136/4 in 15.4 ovs (Sargunam 42, Dhas39 no).