Chennai, July 27: Maan Bafna's brilliance helped Tiruppur Tamizhans upstage Nellai Royal Kings by three wickets in their Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL 2021) match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here.
The 26-year-old stood his ground against some spirited bowling and fielding by Nellai to turn the tables on the rivals. Chasing 149 for victory, the left-handed Bafna struck an unbeaten 72 off 51 balls (6 fours, 3 sixes) as Tiruppur achieved the target in the 20th over losing seven wickets.
When Bafna walked in to bat, Tiruppur were in a spot of bother having lost opener N Mohammed Ashiq (1) and Tushar Raheja (5) for 22 runs in four overs.
He was helped to settle in by opener S Siddharth, who provided the initial fireworks, striking 3 fours and 3 sixes in his 28-ball 41.
Together they raised 53 runs in 45 balls for the third wicket and although Siddharth was dismissed in the 12th over, Bafna had gained control of the proceedings.
He dominated the fifth wicket partnership of 45 runs from 25 balls with his captain M Mohammed, whose contribution was a mere 7.
There was some drama in the final over bowled by Nellai captain Baba Aparajith when Tiruppur lost two wickets with one run to get. But Bafna ensured nothing was going to come in his way by scoring the winning run. Aparajith ended up with three wickets with his off-spin bowling but it was not enough for Nellai.
Earlier, the highlight of Nellai innings were opener Laxmesha Surya Prakash's 43 off 40 balls (3 fours, 2 sixes) and young Arjun Murthy's rearguard cameo of 35 runs off 16 balls (7 fours).
While the experienced Surya Prakash anchored the initial phase, stringing partnerships of 38 with Aparajith (14 off 17 balls) and 45 runs for the third wicket with Indrajith (26 off 20 balls, 1 four, 2 sixes), the 21-year-old Arjun stood tall in the last phase.
The 32-year-old Surya Prakash was most severe on fast bowler K Gowtham Thamarai Kannan smacking two sixes and a four in his third over.
Nellai were cruising at 100-2 after 14 overs but pacer Rajappa Rajkumar's double strike that claimed Surya and Indrajith put Tiruppur Tamizhans in command. In the next over, M Mohammed dismissed the dangerous Sanjay Yadav for a duck and Nellai had lost three wickets in the space of eight balls.
Arjun stepped up when his side needed him the most and began by taking on Nellai's nemesis Rajkumar, cracking four boundaries in succession to spoil the 28-year-old all-rounder's bowling figures (3-42). In the next over, Arjun went after pacer Aswin Crist hitting three boundaries on the trot before being bowled, missing a big swipe off a good length delivery.
Mohammed pulled things back for Tiruppur with a brilliant final over by conceding just one run and dismissing three batsmen, including a run-out. The 30-year-old all-rounder emerged as the best bowler for his side with figures of 3.5-0-23-3 as Nellai were bowled out for 148 in 19.5 overs.
Left-arm spinner S Mohan Prasath was the most economical bowler for Tiruppur conceding just 16 from his 4 overs and claimed the prized scalp of Aparajith.
Brief scores: Nellai Royal Kings: 148 all out in 19.5 overs (L Suryaprakash 43, Arjun P Murthy 35, B Indrajith 26, Pradosh Rajan Paul 20; M Mohammed 3-23, R Rajkumar 3-42, Aswin Crist 2-31, S Mohan Prasath 1-16) lost to Tiruppur Tamizhans: 149 for 7 in 19.5 overs (Maan Bafna 72 not out, S Siddharth 41; B Aparajith 3-9, Sanjay Yadav 2-29, T Ajith Kumar 2-37) by 3 wickets.
Koo App Most Number of 6s: S Siddharth (iDTT), Maan K Bafna (iDTT)
Shriram Most Number of 4s: Arjun P Murthy (NRK)
Dream 11 Game Changer of the Match: Arjun P Murthy (NRK)
Upstox Most Valuable Player of the Match: Arjun P Murthy (NRK)
BKT Tires- Commander of the Match: M Mohammed (iDTT)
Shriram Capital Player of the Match: Maan K Bafna (iDTT)