Tirunelveli, July 24: It was another left-arm spinner's day in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). R Alexandar spun a web around Trichy Warriors at the India Cements Limited- Sankar Nagar ground here to claim five wickets for nine runs and help Chepauk Super Gillies log their first victory of the season.
The 23-year-old Alexandar's analysis of 4-0-9-5 was the best in TNPL history surpassing Warrior's captain Sai Kishore's 5-13 at the MAC Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai in 2017. Interestingly, Sai Kishore was then a CSG player and his feat came against Karaikudi Kaalai.
CSG, who made 148-6 after being asked to bat first, rode on Alexandar's brilliance to down Warriors by 41 runs. The diminutive spinner was pressed into the attack in the third over by captain Kaushik Gandhi and he justified the faith by running through the Trichi batting, who badly missed the services of Murali Vijay. Alexandar claimed the first four wickets in an incredible spell of 3-0-6-4.
On Monday, Dindigul Dragons' left-arm spinner M Silambarasan had cast a spell on Madurai Patriots and on Tuesday it was Alexandar's turn. The Ramanathapuram lad who had been impressive (4-0-11-4) in CSG's 10-run defeat to Dindigul, now tops the wicket-takers list this season. In two matches, he has bowled eight overs, conceded just 20 runs and picked nine wickets.
Barring opener Aditya Barooah (29 off 31 balls, 2 fours, 1 six) no other top-order Warriors batsmen could get into double figures as Alexandar wreaked havoc.
Earlier, it was a tale of two partnerships for CSG after RTW won the toss and put them in. Opener Ganga Sridhar Raju (26 off 26 balls) and No 3 KH Gopinath (37 off 25 balls) first raised 58 runs for the third wicket off 40 balls to provide the initial surge. All-rounder Harish Kumar (39 ff 23 balls, 1 four, 4 sixes) and Murugan Ashwin (18 off 24 balls) then overcame a middle-order wobble to collect 54 runs for the fifth wicket in 40 balls.
These two partnerships were largely instrumental in pushing CSG to a respectable 148-6 in 20 overs.
The Warriors left-arm spinners Sai Kishore (1-28) and Kannan Vignesh (1-17) enacted lead roles in checking the CSG charge. Vignesh claimed Gopinath first and four balls later Sai Kishore trapped Ganga Raju leg before wicket. Thereafter, the CSG innings appeared to lose momentum until Harish Kumar used the long handle to telling effect. The 30-year-old first hit two sixes in a Sai Kishore over and then carted a four and two successive sixes off medium-pacer P Saravana Kumar in the 17th over.
Saravana Kumar, however, had his revenge in his next over by claiming both Harish and Murugan off successive balls but by then CSG had got a fighting total on the board.
Brief scores: Chepauk Super Gillies 148/6 in 20 overs (Ganga Sridhar Raju 26, KH Gopinath 37, S Harish Kumar 39; P Saravana Kumar 2-39, R Sai Kishore 1-28, Kannan Vignesh 1-17) beat Trichy Warriors: 107-9 in 20 overs (Aditya Barooah 29, P Saravana Kumar 22 not out; G Periyaswamy 2-34, R Alexandar 5-9) by 41 runs.