TIRUNELVELI: We have seen how youngsters like N Jagadeesan, R Sai Kishore and Washington Sundar have lit up the Tamil Nadu Premier League stage in the last two editions. But this season has belonged to the experienced bunch so far. The likes of Kaushik Gandhi and Aniruddha Srikkanth have proved that. Take Siechem Madurai Panthers for example — who did not win a single match in two years — now find themselves in the second spot after beating Ruby Trichy Warriors on Sunday, courtesy their 30-plus players making life hard for opponents.
Apart from the team boasting Varun Chakravarthy as their USP, who has helped them turn the tables this season, it is also their old guns — X Thalaivan Sargunam, KB Arun Karthik, Rahil Shah, Shijit Chandran — contributing to the success of D Rohit-led team.
Playing at the ICL Ground in Sankar Nagar on Sunday, Madurai chased down the target of 176 with not much sweat. After losing opener Rohit in the third over, big-hitter Sargunam and former skipper Karthik laid the platform for Madurai’s fourth win on the trot with 108-run stand for the second wicket. While Sargunam made an exit after notching up 70 off 36 balls, the 32-year-old Karthik was unbeaten on 80. Both hit 10 fours and 11 sixes combined as Madurai inched closed to the qualifiers.
With two experienced men contributing with the bat, the story was not different with the ball too. Left-arm spinner Shah removed Trichy’s top three batsmen to keep them under check.Even mystery spinner Chakravarthy — who has the best economy rate for Madurai with 5.55 — went at eight per over in his first two overs before Shah strangled them in the middle overs. Another left-arm orthodox, R Karthikeyan, bowled contained the run flow in his first two overs, before Suresh Kumar and S Vasanth Saravanan hit quickfire 42 and 52 respectively.
Madurai’s thinktank, under a new name and new captain and support staff, also went into revamp mode by building a sound team with experience. Madurai assistant coach K Sriram had told Express that it was one of their strategies to invest on veterans during the player draft.
“We have seen how experienced players can make an impact. A team like Chennai Super Kings showed that it is possible in IPL 11. Going with that, we believed they will prove to be effective for us,” he said.
Brief scores: Ruby Trichy Warriors 175/4 in 20 ovs (Vasanth Saravanan 52, Suresh Kumar 52; Rahil Shah 3/27) lost to Siechem Madurai Panthers 176/5 in 18.2 ovs (KB Arun Karthik 80 n.o, X Thalaivan Sargunam 70). VB Kanchi Veerans 116/8 in 20 ovs (Aparajith 41; Ajith Ram 3/16) vs Lyca Kovai Kings 102/9 in 20 ovs (Ashwin Venkataraman 35; R Aushik Srinivas 3/12).