Dindigul Dragons line up against resurgent Chepauk Super Gillies in Qualifier 1

www.tnpl.tnca.cricket|11-Aug-2019 13:19

Tirunelveli, August 10:  Dindigul Dragons hold the edge over Chepauk Super Gillies in Qualifier 1 of the 4th Sankar Cement Tamil Nadu Twenty20 Premier League at the India Cements Ltd- Sankar Nagar ground, Tirunelveli on Sunday.

They ooze confidence from their brilliant run in the league phase when they won six out of the seven matches to top the standings and also having upstaged CSG in the tournament opener, a low-scoring match, by 10 runs.

Head coach M Venkataramana and their top run-getter Narayan Jagadeesan are eager to extend that run and book a ticket to the final.

“We want to get on with our good run. We are looking forward to win this game and go sit in Chennai for the final,” Venkataramana said on Saturday.

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The former Tamil Nadu off-spinner, however warns it will not be an easy road ahead. “We are in line with whatever our plans were laid out, we were able to execute it well and that is why the good result (in the league). We want to take it forward from here. It's going to be much more tighter and we will have to do better than what we have been doing.”

Unlike last season, when DD lost to Siechem Madurai Panthers in the final, Jagadeesan is keen that they lay their hands on the title this time. “This season we have started fresh and our main goal is to win the trophy,” says the 25-year-old wicketkeeper, who led DD last season.

Jagadeesan (361 runs) alongwith his fellow opener C Hari Nishanth (238 runs) have been the toast of the season with their powerful displays, that includes two century partnerships – 104 v Siechem Madurai Panthers and 161 v iDream Karaikudi Kaalai but DD’s middle-order has not fired according to expectations.

It was evident in their last league match against Lyca Kovai Kings, when both DD openers were out for 0, the middle-order failed to shore up the side and they suffered their only loss of the league, bowled out for 99 in 18.5 overs.

Jagdeesan believes the defeat was a good wake-up call and it has strengthened their resolve for the upcoming Playoffs. “It is very important as batsmen to apply ourselves but we lacked it (against LKK). It is good to hit a speed-breaker before going into the Playoffs, we feel this could wake us up,” he said.

Venkataramana feels the middle-order is not much of a concern as it is made out to be. “Since we had a lot of opening partnerships, the middle-order was not exposed but we have enough players in stock and there is no concern as such,” he said.

DD will also be boosted by the return of their captain Ravichandran Ashwin, who sat out of the LKK game.

Chepauk Super Gillies captain Kaushik Gandhi insists his troops are ready to deal with the high-flying Dragons. Since the defeat to DD in the first match, CSG has improved leaps and bounds to emerge as a strong contender for the title.

“We lost the game by 10 runs and that day both teams had a bad day in the field. I think we again start as equals going into this game,” he said.

Unlike DD who lost their last league match to LKK, CSG won a low scoring duel against Tuti Patriots by 32 runs. Gandhi believes the win has put them in the right frame of mind for the Playoffs. “I think the momentum has been good especially winning a low scoring game (against TP). Guys are pumped up to better their batting and keep the same intensity, so we’re all geared up,” he said on the eve of Qualifier 1.

The 29-year-old, however, is keen to contribute more as a batsman. A prolific run-getter of the league over the past three seasons, logging 902 runs, this year he has scored just 104 runs.

“Personally, it has not been a very good season for me because I’ve been doing very well with the bat in the past three seasons. But I’ve managed not to allow that to affect my captaincy because we've been doing well as a team. I’d like to contribute more with my bat,” he said.