On Monday, the fans were treated to yet another thrilling encounter in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) 2023. To advance to the final, Nellai Royal Kings needed to score 57 runs off 21 balls, which put them in a tight place. Batting on 26 off 27, Nidhish Rajagopal was having trouble finding the boundary as G. Ajitesh was solely keeping the team in the match through another swashbuckling effort.
The Royal Kings’ leadership had to make a bold decision to swap out Nidhish with Rithik Easwaran. Under extreme pressure, Royal Kings defeated Dindigul Dragons by seven wickets in a gripping Qualifier-2 of the TNPL on Monday at the ICL field. The young left-handed hitter maintained composure and utilised his superb bat swing to do the talking with impact.
In the first three deliveries of the 19th over, with 37 required off the final two overs, Rithik blasted three sixes off G. Kishoor’s bowling. Rithik was able to scoop the final ball through fine leg as 33 went from that over after Ajitesh struck the fifth delivery for a six and Kishoor followed with a no-ball on the final ball.
Watch: 33 runs off the penultimate over while chasing 37 off 12 balls
One of the craziest striking! 37 needed in 12 balls – 6,6,6,1,6,N1,6.
33 runs from the penultimate over, insane striking from Rithik Easwaran and Ajitesh Guruswamy in TNPL Qualifier. pic.twitter.com/jhToGDKkM1
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) July 10, 2023
The Dragons were not defeated easily, though, as Subodh Bhati made every effort to hold off four runs during the 20th over, reducing the score to one off the final ball. Rithik, though, put an elegant end to the pursuit by blasting a low full toss past square leg to guarantee that Nellai Royal Kings will face Lyca Kovai Kings in the final match on Wednesday.
Ajitesh, though, continued to dazzle with his aggressive backfoot play and made sure the Nellai Royal Kings held up with their asking rate, to finish off the chase. The right-handed player broke loose in the 15th over, rushing down the wicket and hitting Kishoor for a pair of sixes, the second of which brought him to his third successive half-century of the competition.