About the Match
The Albert TUTI Patriots became the first team to qualify for the playoffs and have looked completely unstoppable up until now. They come up against the VB Thiruvallur Veerans at Tirunelveli as they look to continue their unbeaten streak. Can the Veerans finally stop the Patriots juggernaut or is there simply too large a gulf in quality?
VB Thiruvallur Veerans
This season of the TNPL has been mixed for the Veerans so far as they have won two and lost two matches. Their last loss against Karaikudi Kaalai would have hurt them as they failed to defend a par total on a pitch that was offering some assistance to their bowlers.
Now, to come back to winning ways against the Patriots is going to be a difficult task.
The Veerans batting is all about their top-3. Like most other teams in this league, the batting firepower is often concentrated right at the top of the order in N Chaturved, S Siddharth, and Baba Aparajith.
There is no doubt about the pedigree of Baba Aparajith and we think he could be as important a player as Washington Sundar has been but he has not quite hit top form yet. In Chaturved and Siddhart, the Veerans have two excellent young openers willing to go after the ball and score big runs when they get in.
Beyond these three, though, it has been slim pickings for the Veerans. Only M Rangarajan has shown the capacity to clear the field with some consistency and contribute runs down the order.
If the Veerans have to win, one of their top-3 must get at least a 70 plus total.
The standout bowler for the Veerans has been Rahil Shah with 9 wickets to his name so far. His economy rate of 6.37 is also exceptional in this form of the game. Giving him support has been Silambarasan and Rangarajan with some measured bowling.
It remains to be seen how these bowlers counter the threat that the in-form Patriots bring to the table.
Albert TUTI Patriots
What can you say about a team that has played 5 matches and won all 5 of them so far? Everything is going right for the Patriots right now. They have, in Washington Sundar, the best player of this tournament by some margin.
Sundar is the highest scorer of the tournament with 323 runs, has a strike rate of 146.15, a batting average of 107.66, 12 sixes to his name and is also the highest wicket taker for the Patriots with 10 wickets.
Washington Sundar and his opening partner, KM Gandhi, have been so dominant in this tournament that there are questions being raised about the readiness of the TUTI Patriots middle order. No other batsman apart from these two has even crossed a total of 50 runs this year.
The reality is that the Patriots openers will fail in one of the matches and that is when their team will be tested. Luckily, the return of Dinesh Karthik would have helped soothe any worries that their supporters might have.
The Indian international scored an attractive 47 not out in the last game to show that he was in good form as well.
The Patriots bowling attack has also been in good form led by the hugely impressive Athisayaraj Davidson. He, Akash Sumra and Aushik Srinivas form a very dependable core for the Patriots.
Pitch and Conditions
We expect a slow turner at Tirunelveli on a day that has forecast to be dry, humid and muggy. The average scores will start to go down at this ground as stroke making becomes more and more difficult.
Albert TUTI Patriots to wi