R Ashwin in shock after passing away of TNPL spinner MP Rajesh

CHENNAI: Lyca Kovai Kings' skipper Abhinav Mukund (70 n.o., 12x4) didn't put a foot wrong as he guided his side to a comfortable 8-wicket win over VB Kanchi Veerans in their TNPL 4 clash at NPR College ground in Dindigul on Sunday evening. The southpaw was at his imperious best during his 44-ball knock, scoring runs on both sides of the wicket. In pursuit of Kanchi's target of 151, Abhinav and fellow opener M Shahrukh Khan (40, 5x4, 2x6) started off in style - racing away to 84 from 6.5 overs which put Kovai in the driver's seat. The duo went in with an aggressive intent and never allowed any of the Kanchi bowlers to get their eye in.
Abhinav was more than happy to give Shahrukh a lion's share of strike. The two matched each other shot for shot. Despite Shahrukh departing in the seventh over - cleaned up by medium-pacer R Suthesh (2 for 41) - Abhinav marched on as he brought his 50 off 28 deliveries. Abhinav relied more on copybook shots to get his runs. In the company of B Anirudh Sita Ram (22 n.o., 2x4), Abhinav added 50 runs for the third wicket to take his side home in the 16th over.

If Abhinav and Shahrukh shone with the bat, left-arm pacer T Natarajan (2 for 21), fellow pacer K Vignesh (1 for 21) and leggie S Manigandan (3 for 40) were instrumental in keeping Kanchi to 150 for 6. Natarajan had Kanchi's K Vishal Vaidhya (1) caught behind off the very first delivery he bowled. Natarajan looked steady right through his spell - conceding just two boundaries from his quota of four overs. While he went for 10 runs from his first two overs, Natarajan - who bowled the 18th and 20th over of Kanchi's innings - conceded just 11 more from those.

For Kanchi, S Lokeshwar (51, 2x4, 3x6) was the top-scorer. The No. 3 batsman steadied the Kanchi ship after they were reduced to 1 for 2 in the second over. Lokeshwar first added 62 with skipper B Aparajith (29, 4x4) for the third wicket before stitching a 51-run stand for the fourth. Some lusty blows towards the end from R Sanjay Yadav (31, 1x4, 2x6) and P Francis Rokins (25, 1x4, 3x6) gave respectability to Kanchi's total. However, their efforts proved insufficient as Kovai got a blistering start from Abhinav and Shahrukh and the total was chased down with 28 balls to spare.

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