A swashbuckling innings of 61 from opener Rajoo Bhatkal and a hard-hitting unbeaten knock of 56 from Anirudha Joshi helped Mysuru Warriors recover from a top-order meltdown and defeat champions Bijapur Bulls with four wickets and two balls to spare in the 5th edition of the KPL 2016 T20 tournament at the KSCA Stadium in Rajnagar on Friday night.
Chasing a target of 162, Mysuru Warriors got off to a terrible start, losing Arjun Hoysala in the first over. Bhatkal though batted like a man on a mission. He struck powerfully and the fours and sixes that flowed off his bat compensated for the fall of wickets at the other end.
Gowtham (10), Jonathan (1) and skipper Manish Pandey (4) fell in quick succession but man of the match Joshi gave good support to Bhatkal (61; 41b, 2x6, 6x4). The fifth wicket pair added 63 runs in 45 balls before Bhatkal fell.
Joshi though, carried on and with J Suchith (19) added 36 runs in 28 balls to wreck Bulls’ hopes. The win was Mysuru’s fourth in as many matches while Bulls have a solitary win from four matches to show for their effort thus far.
Earlier, put in to bat, Bijapur Bulls were indebted to opener R Samarth who held the innings together with an innings of 66 (61b, 1x6, 4x4). The ball was not coming on to the bat, especially after the new ball was seen off and strokeplay was not easy.
MG Naveen, KC Avinash and Bharat Chipli all perished cheaply after skipper Robin Uthappa was run out by a brilliant direct throw by K Gowtham. But with Samarth out there in the middle Bijapur Bulls never lost hope.
Off-spinner K Gowtham (3 for 23 from 4 overs) and J Suchith (1 for 23 from 4 overs) kept a tight check on the flow of runs even as the medium pacers seemed to be a lot more liberal in giving away runs. Towards the end of the innings Arshdeep Brar (27 n.o; 10b, 2x6, 2x4) smashed the medium pacers around to boost the total.
All along, Samarth, who was dismissed in the final over, kept his end going to the delight of Biapur’s followers. But in the final analysis that was not enough to save the team from the blades of Bhatkal and Joshi.
Bijapur Bulls: 161/6 in 20 overs (R Samarth 66, Arshdeep Singh Brar 27 n.o, KC Avinash 21, K Gowtham 3/23) lost to Mysuru Warriors: 167 for 6 in 19.4 overs (Rajoo Bhatkal 61, Anirudha Joshi 56 n.o, J. Suchith 19, A Mithun 2/36, Zahoor Farooqui 2/26) by four wickets.