After struggling to post a low score of 126-8 in 20 overs, CSG made a stirring defence of their total to restrict Dindigul Dragons 114-9 in 20 overs. It was the second TNPL title for CSG, who had also won it in 2017, while it was a second defeat in a final for DD in two years. Periyasamy started and finished his spell in spectacular fashion. In his first over, he claimed two wickets to dismiss DD’s best batsman and captain Narayan Jagadeesan and NS Chaturved, without conceding a run. When he marked his run up for the final over, DD needed 15 runs with four wickets remaining. But he snuffed out DD’s hopes by claiming three wickets in the over, for his maiden five-wicket haul in the tournament.
Playing his first season, the 25-year-old ‘Slinger from Salem’ has undoubtedly turned out to be a show stealer, ending up with the most number of wickets, 21. It was also the highest haul in the season by any bowler in four years, with the previous best being 17 wickets by left-arm spinner Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore for CSG in 2017.
“It was a great experience. The victory was because of my teammates. My mentality is only to win, even when I was playing tennis-ball cricket,” gushed Periyasamy, who was not only adjudged player of the final but also player of the tournament.
If Periyasamy’s first spell was an impressive 2-1-7-2, his second 2-0-8-3 effectively ended any chance of a DD challenge. Before Periyasamy came in for his second spell, left-arm spinner Ramadoss Alexandar (2-24) had played a part in ending a flourishing DD partnership that was threatening to cut loose. Rajendran Vivek (15 off 11 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) and Sumant Jain (46 off 47 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) had raised 38 runs from 25 balls to bring the equation down to 37 from 24 balls.
Alexandar induced an edge off Vivek to keeper Umashankar Sushil off the second ball of the 17th over and in his next over claimed Jain, with the batsman going for the slog and holing out to long-on fielder Senathipathy Harish Kumar.
With Jain, who had anchored the innings beautifully to lift DD from a pathetic situation, and Vivek gone, they suddenly had two new batsmen at the crease. It was a perfect situation for Periyasamy to move in for the kill and he relished preying upon it.
Chasing 127 for a win, DD started disastrously losing three wickets in the first three overs with just four runs on the board. After pacer Vijay Shankar had bowled a maiden first over, Periyasamy bowled a double-wicket maiden to bring CSG right back into the game. DD captain Narayan Jagadeesan was the first to go, slashing Periyasamy to Murugan Ashwin at point while next man in, NS Chaturved was trapped leg before wicket, two balls later. Vijay also encountered success in his second over when DD’s left-handed opener C Hari Nishaanth (4 off 11 balls) pulled a short ball straight to the only fielder in the deep, Manimaran Siddharth at deep square leg.
At the Powerplay, DD’s score was 19-3, which was the lowest by any team in TNPL, the previous lowest was their own 20-4 against Lyca Kovai Kings this season. Sumant Jain and leg-spinner Abhinav Mohan (21 off 25 balls, 1 six) stabilised the innings with a fighting alliance of 49 runs from 56 balls. Alexandar once again played a part in ending this partnership plucking a superb low catch at short fine leg to dismiss Abhinav. The batsman had mistimed a pull off a Harish Kumar short ball and it ballooned to where Alexandar was positioned.
Jain, however found another ally in Vivek, who did not waste time in pulling out the big hits. He tonked Harish Kumar for two sixes in the 15th over and then whacked two fours in the next over bowled by Vijay Shankar to bring DD closer to the target. But Alexandar and Periyasamy had other ideas.
Thereafter, Sasidev carried the fight into the rival camp mixing caution with aggression. He struck a six each off Abhinav and pacers Rohit and Baaskaran Praanesh before getting run out in a mix-up with Ashwin in the 19th over.