Warriors have the last laugh

Dindigul Dragons allowed the pivotal moments to fly away. Ruby Tiruchi Warriors seized them.

Suresh Kumar emerged the hero in a pulse-pounding finish blasting the fourth and fifth balls off seamer M. Mohammed for sixes to punch the air in joy even as his jubilant team-mates rushed in.

Warriors, chasing 173, required 19 off the final over. After the first ball fetched a single, M.S. Sanjay drove the second over long-off for the maximum.

Then, after a leg-bye, the explosive Suresh Kumar (45 not out, 24b, 4×4, 3×6) collected a brace of sixes separated by a leg-side wide. Warriors were home by four wickets in a thrilling season opener of TNPL here on Wednesday.

Earlier a 60-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Sonu Yadav and Suresh Kumar set a platform for Warriors before R. Ashwin sold the dummy to the former to have him stumped.

M. Mohammed struck a telling blow at the start when he castled Warriors skipper B. Indrajith; the batsman missed a whip.

The fluent Bharat Shankar gave hope to Warriors; he timed his strokes, pierced the infield.

Bharat was fortunate to see ‘keeper N. Jagadeesan put down a skier when on 36 off seamer Trilok Nag but fell soon to the same bowler, pouched at mid-wicket.

Earlier, left-arm spinner Kannan Vignesh impressed after Dragons elected to bat. With a nice economical action, he bowled stump to stump with subtle variations.

The left-armer bowled with the new ball, held his own, plugged the run-rate.

He took out dangerman Jagadeesan too with a delivery that landed on a length and held its line.

The Dragons innings was provided momentum by a 68-run second wicket partnership in 44 deliveries between the smooth-stroking left-hander Hari Nishaanth (41, 27b, 5×4, 1×6) and the bustling R. Rohit (46, 30b, 3×4, 3×6), wisely promoted in the order.

In the end overs, captain Ashwin delivered the big blows with an enterprising 42 (28b, 6×4, 1×6).

The scores: Dindigul Dragons 172 for eight in 20 overs (C. Hari Nishaanth 41, R. Rohit 46, R. Ashwin 42) lost to Ruby Tiruchi Warriors 175 for six in 19.5 overs (Bharat Shankar 39, Sonu Yadav 30, S. Suresh Kumar 45 not out). Man-of-the-Match: Suresh Kumar.

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