Bellary Tuskers are the champions of the fifth edition of the KPL T20 tournament. They played a brilliant brand of T20 cricket to defeat Hubli Tigers in the final at the KSCA Stadium in Rajnagar in front of a sell-out crowd on Sunday night.
Tuskers today were in brilliant form. They played to a plan and shifted their game to a higher gear to slam local favourites Hubli Tigers by 35 runs in the final played under lights.
The challenge for the Tuskers was almost immediate. They lost the toss and were asked to take first strike. But they planned their assault on the title superbly by first posting an impregnable total of 189 for 5 and then set about ensuring that the target would beyond Hubli Tigers’ reach.
The only danger for Tuskers was Hubli Tigers’ opening batsman Mohammed Taha, a fearless striker at the top. However, Tuskers had a plan to contain him. They took pace off the ball by introducing spinners and slower medium pacers early to confound him. He perished after making 36 (21b, 2x6, 5x4) and after that it was a cakewalk for Tuskers.
Earlier, despite losing the consistent KB Pawan to a run out in only the second over, Tuskers, coached by former Karnataka opening batsman J Arun Kumar, moved to top gear instantly.
The left-handed opener Rohan Kadam (61; 40b, 1x6, 8x4), another consistent performer for Tuskers blossomed in the company of Suneel Raju (36; 27b, 2x6, 3x4) and the pair stitched together an impressive 83-run stand in 54 balls. Both batsmen rotated strike and ensured that despite losing Pawan early they rattled 53 runs in the powerplay overs.
The explosive start came in handy as other batsmen, notably man of the match B Akhil (50; 24b, 3x6, 5x4) scored at a hectic run rate. Left arm spinner Shivil Kaushik put a check on the run-rate by scalping both Raju and Kadam but as the innings progressed Akhil gave it the push to post an impregnable total.
Earlier, the teams were introduced to KSCA president PR Ashokanand during a short and smart opening ceremony.
Later, at the prize distribution, Sudhir Hasija, chairman of Karbonn Mobile praised the efforts of the organisers. “KSCA is doing a fantastic job with the KPL which is in its fifth season now. There are a lot of players from Mofussil areas, who, through the KPL, get an opportunity to showcase their talent and subsequently get a chance to play the IPL.
“The crowds today at the final game is testament to what a great tournament this is,” he added.
Bellary Tuskers: 189 for 5 in 20 overs (Rohan Kadam 61, B Akhil 50, Sunil Raju 36, Shivl Kaushik 2/18) beat Hubli Tigers: 154 for 9 in 20 overs (Dikshanshu Negi 39, Md.Taha 36, Kunal Kapoor 27, Steve Lazarus 3/12, Amit Verma 2/38) by 35 runs