His muscles glowing under the lights, he looked every inch a pocket powerhouse. Ganga Sridhar Raju can smash deliveries square off the wicket or send the sphere soaring over the straight-field.
The left-handed opener’s 52-ball 74 was the explosive effort in Lyca Kovai Kings’ thumping eight-wicket win over Ruby Trichy Warriors in the Tamil Nadu Premier League match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday.
The in-form Sai Sudharsan, all footwork and fluency, essayed some immaculate strokes, finding the gaps with clinical precision on both sides. Ganga and Sai (57 not out off 43 balls) took the game away from Ruby and then skipper Shahrukh Khan (18 not out off five balls) delivered the knockout blow.
When Lyca Kovai Kings pursued 172, seamer Saravana Kumar, employing the seam well, caught the eye on a surface where there was good carry.
The experienced Sunil Sam struggled for rhythm and Ganga smote him over wide long-on for the maximum.
Apart from pulling and collecting runs with his pick-up strokes, Ganga used the depth of the crease capably, cutting and slicing the ball late. And he danced down to impressive left-arm spinner M. Mathivanan for a six over long-on. Sai could not be kept quiet either. A straight six off Dhas was a compelling blow.
To make matters worse for Ruby, catches were put down. None was easier than Dhas grassing Sai (on 24 then) off Sam at third man.
Ruby elected to bat and the in-form Amit Sathvik (42 runs off 32 balls) garnered eyeballs with his timing and balance, finding the gaps on the off-side and pulling when the delivery was short.
For Lyca, lanky and loose-limbed left-arm spinner, Ajith Ram bowled with control. Nimble southpaw Nidhish Rajagopal took on the spinners, striking three successive boundaries off Ajith, a whip being the pick. Then the languid Sumant Jain, twice, timed left-arm seamer E. Srinivasan over cover for sixes.
Nidhish’s 28-ball 45 and Sumant’s handy 29 apart from some big blows from Dhas (20 runs off 11 balls) and Saravana (12 runs off 3 balls) lifted the total beyond 170.
It did not prove to be enough, though.
Ruby Trichy Warriors 171 for 7 in 20 overs (Sathvik 42, Rajagopal 45, Jain 29) lost to Lyca Kovai Kings 175 for 2 in 18.1 overs (Sridhar Raju 74, Sai Sudharsan 57 n.o.) by eight wickets.