KPL 2017: Spirited Bijapur win last ball thriller
Rain tried its best to play spoil-sport midway through Match 16 of the Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League 2017, powered by Cycle Pure Agarbathies, reducing Bengaluru Blasters’ target to 66 in nine overs after Bijapur Bulls had scored 125 for 9 in their 20 overs.
But it only served to add the drama. M Vishwanathan, who scored an unbeaten 24-ball 35, looked to have helped Bengaluru reach a position from which they could finally celebrate their first win of the tournament. However, a cracking final over from HS Sharath, in which he conceded just five runs and claimed the crucial wicket of Shishir Bhavane (12), helped Bijapur to a thrilling one-run win by the VJD-Method at the KSCA Rajnagar Stadium in Hubbali on Friday (15 September).
The victory helped Bijapur – level on points with the three sides above them but with an inferior net run-rate – to the fourth spot on the table.
Just 2.1 overs into Bengaluru’s chase, a steady drizzle turned into a powerful downpour. The delay lasted an hour and 20 minutes. And when play resumed at 10.40pm, Bengaluru had to contend with an energetic Abhimanyu Mithun, who had R Samarth (5) trapped plumb in front. Vishwanathan wasn’t discouraged though. He hammered consecutive fours off HS Sharath in the next over, and then followed that up with a massive six off KC Cariappa later.
It meant Bengaluru needed only seven runs going into the final over. But Sharath held his nerve to ensure there were no easy, pressure-relieving boundaries. The big-hitting Vishwanathan could face one ball in the over, and when Bhavane was cleaned up in the penultimate ball, Bengaluru needed three off the final ball to win. They managed just one.
Earlier, Bijapur chose to bat but had a tough time handling the disciplined Bengaluru bowlers. Dikshanshu Negi scored a fine 28-ball 36, but the bowlers adhered to strict lines and lengths to keep Bijapur on the ropes. It meant there was dot-ball pressure, which led to wickets at regular intervals. The first to fall, however, was Mohammed Taha (9), the big-hitter unfortunate to be run-out after a miscommunication with Bharat Chipli, his captain. Chipli then found the fence a couple of times but was caught behind attempting a wild heave off V Koushik.
Negi then came in and found the fence twice in an over off Abhishek Bhat, but MG Naveen was another batsman who made a steady start and was unable to build on it, Pranav Bhatia dismissing him for a 16-ball 11. Sharath (2) and M Nidesh didn’t last long either, as Bijapur were reduced to 67 for 5.
Negi finally had some support when AM Kiran walked in. They added 23 for the sixth wicket, and with Negi taking on Bhatia and Prasidh Krishna, it seemed Bijapur were set for a death-over assault. Unfortunately, Prasidh had his number, having him caught behind in the 16th over. Runs were hard to come by thereafter, but boundaries from Mithun (6), Prithivi Shekavat (8) and Ronit More (13 not out) helped boost the total.
It proved just about enough.
Brief scores: Bijapur Bulls 125 for 9 in 20 overs (Dikshanshu Negu 36; V Koushik 2-23, Pranav Bhatia 2-25) beat Bengaluru Blasters 64 for 2 in nine overs (M Vishwanathan 35*, Shishir Bhavane 12; Abhimanyu Mithun 1-15) by one run on the VJD Method.
Man of the Match: Abhimanyu Mithun (Bijapur Bulls)