Introduction : NRK vs MPS
NRK vs MPS: Madurai Panthers (MPS) were knocked out in the Eliminator last season as they lost to Lyca Kovai Kings. This year, they are up against Nellai Royal Kings (NRK) at the same venue in Salem.
They’ve been unbeaten so far in 3 games played on this ground and will be hoping to continue their form, especially with the ball. While there have been some high-scoring games here recently, Madurai Panthers have always managed to dominate the opposition with the ball.
In their last match here, the Panthers bowled out Trichy for just 105 runs and chased it down with 7 wickets in hand. Nellai Royals Kings, on the other hand, recently chased down a total in 11.5 Overs with 8 wickets in hand. The middle and lower order of Nellai Royal Kings has come good at the right time. Ajitesh Guruswamy, Nidhish Rajagopal, and NS Harish are in good touch and will be the key players.
NRK vs MPS: Nellai Royal Kings Preview
Nellai Royal Kings had two chances to reach the final last year and they lost in both Qualifier 1 and 2. This time around, they will have to win the Eliminator and the 2nd Qualifier to reach the TNPL 2023 final.
After finishing with just 159-7 batting first against Dindigul Dragons, Nellai Royal Kings quickly bounced back to chase down a target in their last league stage game.
That is good news for the Kings as they come to Salem where the opposition has been dominant with the ball. Arun Karthik who scored a hundred Chepauk Super Gillies at this same venue will be a key batsman to watch out for.
The skipper has changed his opening partner quite often in recent outings and it seems that the Kings would settle with Lakshmesha Suryaprakash. The openers can give the team a good start and Guruswamy and Rajagopal will be key to building partnerships in the middle.
The batting lineup is deep with the likes of Sonu Yadav and NS Harish in the lower order capable of making some quick runs at the death. There is great variety in the bowling attack. Though not very consistent, Sandeep Warrier looked in good touch in the last match. M Poiyamozhi, Sonu Yadav, and Mohan Prasath will be the key bowlers for Nellai Royal Kings in the match.
Nellai Royal Kings Predicted Playing XI:
Arun Karthik (c), Lakshay Jain S, Rithik Easwaran (wk), Ajitesh Guruswamy, Laxmesha Suryaprakash, Sonu Yadav, NS Harish, M Poiyamozhi, S Mohan Prasath, Sandeep Warrier, T Veeramani.
Nellai Royal Kings Actual Playing XI:
NS Harish, Ajitesh G, Laxmesha Suryaprakash, SS Warrier, M Poiyamozhi, R Sonu Yadav, P Sugendhiran, Arun Karthik, S Mohan Prasath, Nidhish Rajagopal, Rithik Easwaran
NRK vs MPS: Madurai Panthers Preview
Skipper Hari Nishant who’s picked up his form in recent outings will be keen on getting his team beyond the Eliminator stage this year. They made it to this point in the last season as well but were knocked out. This time around, they have a good record on this ground and are coming here with in-form players who will pose a tough challenge to the Kings.
In the batting department, a lot depends on the top order of Lokeshwar, Hari Nishant, and V Adithya. After continuous failures to deliver at number 3, J Kousik was sent to number 5 where he was unbeaten for 11 off 9 balls.
Kousik was a key player for Panthers in the middle order but his struggles have become a major concern and Madurai will now be looking up to V Adithya and Swapnil Singh to do the job in the middle order. Washington Sundar’s absence also hurts the Panthers in both departments. He could hit the long ball and also pick up a few wickets and keep his team in the game.
The vulnerability of this team is in the batting department. If they lose early wickets, they will be on the back foot and haven’t got many players who could pull them up and deliver a strong finish.
M Ashwin, P Saravanan, and Gurjanpreet Singh are the key bowlers leading from the front. They will be responsible to deliver breakthroughs and repeat what they’ve done on this ground previously.
Madurai Panthers Predicted Playing XI:
Hari Nishanth (c), V Aaditya, Jagatheesan Kousik, S Sri Abisek, Anton A Subikshan, Swapnil Singh, Suresh Lokeshwar (wk), Murugan Ashwin, P Saravanan, Gurjapneet Singh, Ajay Krishna
Madurai Panthers Actual Playing XI:
Jagatheesan Kousik, P Saravanan, V Aditya, Gurjapneet Singh, S Sri Abisek, Murugan Ashwin, Swapnil Singh, S Lokeshwar, Ajay Krishna, Hari Nishanth, Krish Jain.
It looks like a balanced pitch but the bowlers will have a slight upper hand. It will not be easy to just come and hit the ball out of the ground for batters. It will be a good contest between bat and ball. The weather will be partly cloudy with a high of 33 degrees Celsius.
SCG Cricket Ground in Salem was also the venue for last year’s Eliminator which Panthers lost to Kovai Kings. The average 1st innings score on this ground is 144 runs and we reckon even a 160-170 run total can be chased here. The team batting first should be looking to get beyond the 170-175 mark to be in a comfortable position.
Toss: To Bowl
It has been a tricky wicket at the SCF Cricket Ground. Teams have dominated with the ball in the first innings and chased down the target comfortably. Panthers would look to play on their strengths, while Nellai Royal Kings, with a deep lineup, will back their in-form batters to chase down another target.
NRK vs MPS: It will be a close contest between two in-form teams on a venue that offers a balanced pitch where bowlers can have their say. There is very little to choose from between these two sides. However, the depth in the batting lineup of the Nellai Royal Kings in contrast to the lack of finishers in the Madurai Panthers’ lineup puts the former slightly ahead in this contest. Nellai Royal Kings will start as favourites in our match prediction.