After failing to defend 201 against Dindigul Dragons, the Kovai Kings fielded and bowled with purpose to restrict Madurai to 153-8 in 20 overs. The win was doubly sweet as it catapulted Kovai Kings to the top of the table with five points from four matches.
Ashwin Venkatraman who plucked a stunning catch off Abhishek Tanwar to dismiss the dangerous Jagatheesan Kousik (29 off 15 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) indicated the fielding standards set by the Kovai Kings in the match.
Medium-pacer S Divakar (3-18) and left-arm spinner S Ajith Ram (3-24) did most of the damage to the Madurai innings with their economical strikes.
Captain NS Chaturved (39 off 26 balls, 5 fours, 1 six) and opener KB Arun Kaarthick (21 off 12 balls, 4 fours) dominated when they were at the crease but they did not last long, both falling prey to Ajith Ram.
Earlier, the bluster of captain M Shahrukh Khan (58 off 30 balls, 2 fours, 5 sixes) and the grit of young Bhardwaj Sai Sudharsan (61 off 52 balls, 6 fours, 1 six) powered the Kovai Kings to 172-5 in 20 overs.
The going was tough initially on a slow pitch but the 20-year-old Sudharsan put his head down and held the Kovai innings together by stringing a 55-run partnership off 44 balls for the third wicket with Ashwin Venkatraman (16 off 20 balls).
Kovai were 77-3 after 13 overs but that was when Shahrukh switched gears and started to rain sixes. Sudharsan was content playing second fiddle and the duo raised 67 runs off 40 balls for the fourth wicket. Once Sudharsan was dismissed by pacer Kiran Akash, the big hits continued as Shahrukh was joined by all-rounder Abhishek Tanwar, who cracked 22 off 10 balls.
Such was the late onslaught by the Kovai batsmen that they added 95 runs in the last seven overs. Sudharsan, who has been the find of the tournament leads the batting charts with 245 runs while his captain Shahrukh Khan heads the batting strike rate (208.11).
Brief scores: Kovai Kings: 172-5 in 20 overs (Sai Sudharsan 61, Shahrukh Khan 58 n.o, Abhishek Tanwar 22; Kiran Akash 2-40, Rohit R 1-17, Kousik J 1-32, R Silambarasan 1-37) beat Madurai Panthers: 153-8 in 20 overs (NS Chaturved 39, J Kousik 29, Arun Karthick 21; R Divakar 3-18, Ajith Ram 3-24, Abhishek Tanwar 2-43) by 19 runs.
Koo App Most Number of 6s: Shahrukh Khan (LKK)
Shriram Most Number of 4s: Sai Sudharsan (LKK)
Dream 11 Game Changer of the Match: R Divakar (LKK)
Upstox Most Valuable Player of the Match: S Ajith Ram (LKK)
BKT Tires- Commander of the Match: Sai Sudharsan (LKK)
Shriram Capital Player of the Match: Shahrukh Khan (LKK)
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