Pradosh Ranjan Paul (62 runs off 52 balls) and skipper B. Aparajith (55 runs off 42 balls) powered Nellai Royal Kings to its first win of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), as it beat defending champion Chepauk Super Gillies by seven wickets here on Saturday.
Chasing 166 for victory, the duo paced the chase perfectly with a 98-run stand for the second wicket, starting big in the Power Play before consolidating in the middle, while steadily chipping away at the target. R. Sanjay Yadav then took Nellai home with an unbeaten 25 runs off 14 balls.
The left-handed Pradosh looked stylish during his knock, be it a flick off his pads through mid-wicket or cutting the left-arm spinners through the off-side. Along with Aparajith, he helped Nellai get 56 in the first six overs.
After a period in which there was no boundary for four overs, Pradosh found two against M. Siddharth to give the innings momentum.
Aprajith then found a higher gear picking a six and four off medium-pacer S. Harish Kumar before bringing up his half-century hitting Siddarth over long-on.
Despite some tight bowling towards the end, Sanjay Yadav managed to find the crucial boundaries when needed, including a four and six off his younger brother Sonu Yadav before Indrajith sealed the chase with a six over long-on with two balls to spare.
Earlier, electing to bat, N. Jagadeesan stood tall for CSG with a scintillating 95-run knock off 70 balls to help his side post a competitive total of 165 but lacked support from the other end.
Jagadeesan’s strength is his fluent strokeplay square of the wicket, and the Nellai medium-pacers were guilty of providing width, enabling him to unleash his cuts and punches on the off-side.
CSG was struggling at 38/3 in the eighth over before U. Saisdev (20) and Jagadeesan managed to counter-attack and grab the momentum by taking on the Nellai spinners with a 46-run stand for the fourth wicket.
In the 16th over, M. Abhinav was taken for two sixes and a four by Jagadeesan and the leg-spinner bowled five wides, conceding 23 runs.
CSG finished strongly with 17 off the last over, thanks to three boundaries off the outside edge of R.S. Jaganath Sinivas but, in the end, it did not prove enough.
Chepauk Super Gillies 165/7 in 20 overs (N. Jagadeesan 95, V. Athisayaraj Davidson 2/31, M. Abhinav 2/24) lost to Nellai Royal Kings 167/3 in 19.4 overs (B. Aparajith 55, Pradosh Ranjan Paul 62, R. Sanjay Yadav 25 not out).
Man-of-the-Match: Pradosh Ranjan Paul (NRK).