KPL 2017: Gritty Bijapur seal semi-final berth with thrilling one-run win
Bijapur Bulls became the first side to seal a Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League 2017, powered by Cycle Pure Agarbathies semi-final berth with a thrilling one-run victory over Belagavi Panthers at the KSCA Rajnagar Stadium in Hubbali on Monday (18 September).
Having set Belagavi a 155-run target, thanks to captain Bharath Chipli’s 52-ball 68, a combined bowling performance ensured Bijapur crept through, despite Stuart Binny’s unbeaten 40-ball 55.
The win lifted Bijapur to the top spot in the table with eight points. Belagavi, currently on seven points, have to wait till the end of the two matches on Tuesday to know their fate.
Stalin Hoover got Belagavi’s chase off to a quick start, scoring a 14-ball 23 to take the total past 50-mark early in the fifth over. At that point, it seemed Belagavi would ace the chase, but when Hoover was run out, the tide changed. Prithvi Shekawat had KN Bharath (6) and Sunil Raju (1) dismissed in quick succession, and Belagavi’s early momentum was completely drained, reduced to 57 for 4.
In Binny, Belagavi had someone who could single-handedly win them the match though. He guided the chase, ensuring the scorecard never stayed stagnant, finding the fence whenever he could. At the other end, S Rakshith was an ideal foil, even scooping KC Cariappa over the ‘keeper’s head at one point. Their 42-run stand revived the innings, Naveen MG crucially broke through in the 14th over though, with Rakshith (17) miscuing a slog.
Bijapur had the momentum again. But D Avinash lifted a couple of massive sixes to keep Belagavi in the game. It helped that the dew made fielding difficult, with both players dropped as the nerves reached fever pitch. Avinash was then dismissed off a no-ball in the penultimate over off More, and Binny dispatched free-hit into the stands.
It meant Belagavi needed 12 off the final over. Binny’s flat six over covers reduced the equation to four off three balls, but Avinash (18) then holed out. Belagavi needed three off the final ball – they got just one. Bijapur were ecastatic.
Earlier, Shubang Hegde, the young left-arm spinner, surprisingly opened the bowling for Belagavi, with Mohammed Taha (11) and Chipli finding the fence a few times early on for Bijapur. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing.
Taha (11) wasted his good start, holing out to Avinash in the fourth over, and the new man, AM Kiran, was having trouble picking Hegde, the batsman beaten a couple of times with turn. Belagavi were stringent in the field as well, and despite the odd boundary, Bijapur’s scoring-rate wasn’t as much as they would have hoped it would be. After 10 overs, they were just 56 for 1.
However, after a mini-rain break during the 12th over, Chipli decided to shift gears. There was a cut off Binny that ended up at the fence, before Hegde was lifted him straight down the ground for six. Hegde, to his credit, remained unfazed and managed to induce a nick off Kiran (33 off 35) later that over.
After 15 overs, Bijapur were 94 for 3, with a desperate need to accelerate. Chipli did just that. Once again, the cut was unleashed against Hoover, Chipli finding the fence and bringing up his fifty off 45 balls. The over yielded 14 runs, with Chipli stepping on the gas.
In the next over off Avinash, Chipli was dropped, albeit off a difficult chance, and he made them pay with a six soon after. Avinash, visibly rattled, sent down consecutive wides thereafter, but had his vengeance when Chipli chopped a full toss onto his own stumps. Negi (12) and Naveen (0) followed suit, but HS Sharath scored an unbeaten 8-ball 17 to take the total past the 150-mark.
It just about proved enough.
Brief scores: Bijapur Bulls 154 for 6 in 20 overs (Bharath Chipli 68, AM Kiran 33; D Avinash 3-32) beat Belagavi Panthers 153 for 8 in 20 overs (Stuart Binny 55*, Stalin Hoover 23; Ronit More 2-41, Prithvi Shekawat 2-12) by one run.
Man of the Match: Bharath Chipli (Bijapur Bulls)