We are down to the business end of Tamil Nadu Premier League 2017. Friday will witness one of the six remaining group-stage matches of the second season - Karaikudi Kaalai vs Ruby Trichy Warriors at NPR College Ground in Dindigul.
Karaikudi are currently placed fourth with six points from as many games. There is no denying that the Subramaniam Badrinath-led team have been inconsistent this season, but a win today will make it inconsequential.
Eight points will assure them a place in the Playoffs. However, they cannot finish among the top-two, which will offer them a direct berth to the final as Tuti Patriots and Chepauk Super Gillies have already assured themselves a 1-2 finish.
Karaikudi's nearest rivals -- third-placed VB Thiruvallur Veerans are also at six points. They will face Lyca Kovai Kings in a must-win tomorrow, August 12.
Kovai, placed sixth with four points from five games, have to win both their remaining matches to stand a chance of qualifying. On the other hand, fifth-placed Dindigul Dragons will take on Chepauk in Dindigul on Sunday, August 13.
Karaikudi upbeat after latest win
Karaikudi are heading into Friday's match on the back of a win against Dindigul by seven runs on Monday, August 7.
Despite not having their top-scorer Srikkanth Anirudha, Karaikudi, riding on opener Vishal Vaidhya's 41, posted 150 on the board.
Left-arm spinner Mohan Prasath did the trick for Karaikudi with the ball, picking up four wickets to skittle Dindigul chase.
Karaikudi would be expecting Anirudha to be fit for the all-important clash today as his performance at the top can prove decisive. Meanwhile, on a slow track in Dindigul, Prasanth's show with the ball will also be crucial to their chances.
Trichy's outside chances
On the other hand, Trichy, who are placed seventh with only two points from five games have to win their remaining matches to boost their outside chances. Notably, they had lost their only meeting against Karaikudi last season and have to considerably improve to test Badrinath's side.
Having lost their last two games, Baba Indrajith-led side needs to buckle up and win big to boost their Net Run Rate, which at -1.402 is the second lowest among the eight teams.
The onus to post a big total will be on openers Indrajith and Bharath Shankar. However, Trichy will be well served if the middle order, which has been below-par, comes good in a must-win situation.
When does the match start and how to watch it online
The 24th match of the TNPL 2017 between Karaikudi and Trichy will begin at 7:15 pm IST
TV Channel: Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports Tamil. Live streaming: Hotstar