Pace bowlers T Natarajan and debutant G Periyaswamy scalped three wickets each as Tamil Nadu beat Kerala by 37 runs in the opening group ‘B’ match in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament here on Friday.
Sent into bat, the visitors made 174 for 5 in 20 overs thanks to a late assault by M Mohammed (34, 11 balls, 3 fours, 3 sixes) and restricted Kerala to 137 for 8 in its quota of overs.
After early loss of the experienced Murali Vijay (1) and N Jagadeesan (8) to Basil Thampi and K M Asif respectively, in-form Baba Aparajith (35) and skipper Dinesh Karthik (33) staged a recovery while Vijay Shankar (25) and Shahrukh Khan (28) too made useful contributions.
However, Tamil Nadu appeared to be heading to a moderate total before Mohammed launched a stunning assault in the final stages, hitting 3 boundaries and an equal number of sixes to take the team to 174.
Kerala began the chase well despite losing captain Robin Uthappa (9) in the 4th over as Vishnu Vinod (24) and Rohan Kunnummal (34) built a steady partnership.
But, the Tamil Nadu bowlers stuck to their task and kept picking up wickets to stymie the host team’s progress.
Natarajan got the crucial wicket of Sachin Baby (32, 32b, 2×4) after Periyaswamy scalped Uthappa.
The Kerala lower-order couldn’t withstand the pressure and the team went down by 37 runs.
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 174 for 5 in 20 overs (B Aparajith 35, M Mohammed 34 not out, Dinesh Karthik 33, M Shahrukh Khan 28, Basil Thampi 3/49) beat Kerala 137 for 8 in 20 overs (Rohan Kunnummal 34, Sachin Baby 32, T Natarajan 3/25, G Periyaswamy 3/36). TN: 4 points, Kerala: Nil.
Tripura 102 for 8 in 20 overs (Saurabh Das 30, Darshan Nalkande 3/25) lost to Vidarbha 103 for 1 in 12.3 overs (Faiz Fazal 54, Akshay Kolhar 45 not out). Vidarbha: 4 points, Tripura: Nil.
Rajasthan 171 for 4 in 2 overs (Mannendra Narendra Singh 77, Ankit Lamba 49, Mahipal Lomror 25 not out, Abdul Karim 3/33) beat Manipur 74 for 9 in 20 overs (Priyojit Singh Gourmohon Kangabam 55 not out, Tanveer Ul Haq 4/7). Rajasthan: 4 points, Manipur: Nil.