AVM Rajeswari (Chennai) opened with a comfortable nine-wicket win over Neelambal (Salem) in Group B as the second and final phase of The Muthoot Group-sponsored 4th Junior Super Kings Inter-school T20 Championships 2017 commenced at the ICL Sankar Nagar cricket ground in Tirunelveli on Sunday.
Srirangam Boys (Tiruchi) in Group A and Sri Jayendra Saraswathi (Coimbatore) in Group B also began on a winning note in the league-cum-knockout competition featuring the winners and runners-up of the Chennai leg and the winners of six districts (Madurai & Tirunelveli combined).
Opting to bat, Neelambal were restricted to 75/9 by AVM who had finished runners-up to Don Bosco (Egmore) in the Chennai leg. Off-spinner Utsav Varadh opened the attack with a maiden over and took two wickets off his four overs bowled in a single spell to put the Salem side on the defensive. Medium-pacer Anthzack Romero returned 3-13, including a maiden over. AVM won with 8.4 overs to spare.
“It’s my first JSK Man of the match award, it feels so exciting,” Romero said. “I hope to win more.”
Srirangam Boys HSS (Tiruchi) v Le Chatelier (Madurai)
Srirangam Boys pulled off a spirited eight-run win on the back of a fighting 39 by left-handed M Vigneshwaran, who also accounted for the crucial wicket of Le Chatelier captain U Poopandiyan in a low-scoring thriller.
Vigneshwaran was guilty of running out his opening partner S Suriyanarayanan but held on firm before being the last man out as his side, on opting to bat, suffered a top-order collapse in the face of some accurate bowling by pacers E Umashankar and Muneej Guru Saran.
Le Chatelier’s chase was derailed by some poor shot selection and they lost their first six wickets for just 49. Poopandiyan (17) hit a six to raise hopes of a late surge before becoming the seventh man to fall (62/7), caught at long on by S Divakar.
“We don’t normally get to play on a turf pitch, so our batsmen struggled,” said Man of the match Vigneshwaran. “But we were confident of defending it.”
KSC Government HSS (Tirupur) v Sri Jayendra Saraswathi (Coimbatore)
ND Harishankar struck a quick fifty to set up a nine-wicket win for Sri Jayendra Saraswathi at the B ground. “We took control of the game early and stayed on top,” said Man of match Harishankar.
Earlier, S Shanmugam, Joint President (Manufacturing) & Plant Head, The India Cements Limited, inaugurated the tournament in the presence of S Dakshinamoorthy, GM, The India Cements Limited, and S Ram Kumar, secretary, Tirunelveli District Cricket Association.
At ICL-A (Turf):
Srirangam Boys (Tiruchi) 86 all out in 19.2 overs (M Vigneshwaran 39, P Muneej Guru Saran 2-19) bt Le Chatelier (Madurai) 78 all out in 19.5 overs (Praful Bhandari 21, M Naveen 3-20, M Sudharsan 2-14, S Divakar 2-11). MoM: M Vigneshwaran. Spirited perfomer: Praful Bhandari.
Neelambal (Salem) 75/9 in 20 overs (Utsav Varadh 2-7, Anthzack Romero 3-13) lost to AVM Rajeswari (Chennai) 76/1 in 11.2 overs (Ram Arvindh 23 n.o., A Magesh 31 n.o.) MoM: Anthzack Romero.
At ICL-B (Matting):
KSC Government HSS (Tirupur) 93/8 in 20 overs (T Prakash 35, P Nirmal Kumar 4-21) lost to Sri Jayendra Saraswathi (Coimbatore) 94/1 in 7.5 overs (D Aswath 25 n.o., ND Harishankar 51 n.o.). MoM: ND Harishankar. Spirited performer: T Prakash.