KPL 2017: Defending champion see off Mysuru Warriors by five wickets
Mysuru, 10 September 2017: Ballari Tuskers, the defending champion, got their first victory of the Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League 2017, powered by Cycle Pure Agarbathies, after edging the home side, Mysuru Warriors, by five wickets at the S.D.N.R Wadiyar ground on Sunday (10 September).
Suneel Raju, the Mysuru captain, had scored a 51-ball unbeaten 78 to power his side to a tricky total of 161 for 6. However, CM Gautam and Abhinav Manohar put on an 88-run stand for the fifth wicket to drive the chase. Manohar scored a ballistic 24-ball 47, at a stunning strike-rate of 195.83, to power the scoring, while Gautam scored a relatively sedate but crucial 34-ball unbeaten 45. Their efforts helped Ballari post 163 for 5 in 19.3 overs and claim their first win of the tournament.
Ballari lost Rohan Kadam (2) early on in their chase, but during the partnership between KB Pawan and Amit Verma it seemed as though Ballari had laid a good-enough platform from which to make a charge. They ensured there was at least a boundary every over – Raju’s sixth over went for 16 runs as both batsmen lifted sixes – and by the eighth over, the total had been boosted past the 60-run mark.
However, as happens so often, one wicket led to a flurry. Verma (27 off 19) was trapped in front off J Suchith, attempting to play one across the line, and Pawan followed suit soon after, confounded by a Shreyas Gopal googly for a 19-ball 26. Gautam and Kunal Kapoor attempted to revive the innings, but another Gopal googly did it for Kapoor (5), the batsman bowled through the gate.
At that stage, after 11 overs, Ballari still needed 92 runs. Gautam took charge, with Manohar joining him for company. Gopal’s success was limited in his third over, both batsmen tonking him for sixes. And they just kept tonking. Manohar didn’t show any sign of jitters coming into a pressure situation. He took on Suchith in his next over, while at the other end Gautam charged at NP Bhareth.
The 17th over, sent down by V Vyshak, was the crucial one for Ballari. Manohar claimed back-to-back boundaries, one of them a huge six into the stands, to reduce the required rate. SL Akshay came in for a hammering the next over as well, Manohar lofting him into cow corner off his first delivery before Gautam reverse-swiped him over the ‘keepers head to the fence.
Mysuru toiled hard, but by the time they broke through, Manohar had fetched more runs off another Vyshak over, and the damage had been done. Gautam fittingly scored the winning runs with a four at third man, and the defending champions had their first win.
Earlier, Mysuru seemed to miss the services of Karun Nair, their captain who was called away on Duleep Trophy duty, after opting to bat. They got off to a slow start, managing just 32 runs in the powerplay overs after losing KC Avinash, who scored a run-a-ball 23, and Vinit Yadav (3) in consecutive overs.
However, in came Raju, and it was like Karun never left. Raju and Arjun Hoysala added a quick 27-run, Hoysala (23) going on the attack while Raju settled in. By the end of the 11th over though, Mysuru had a desperate need to attack, with their total at 60 for 3.
It was then that Raju shifted gears. The first sign of his intentions came when he pummelled Anil IG into the deep-midwicket stands at the end of the 12th over. Verma was handed similar treatment in the next over, and though KL Shrijith (16), his partner, was bowled by Zahoor Faroqui, the run-rate continued on the upward curve. Raju soon brought up his half-century, off just 39 balls.
Faroqui and Verma were both taken to the cleaners in the subsequent overs, even as Suchith (5) and SP Manjunath (9) came and went in their attempts to accelerate the scoring. Eventually, Raju ended unbeaten, with a fine strike-rate of 152.94. His efforts had helped Mysuru add 101 runs in their last nine overs, and make up for a slow start.
They could have used a bit more though.
Brief scores: Mysuru Warriors 161 for 6 in 20 overs (Arjun Hoysala 23, Suneel Raju 78*; Zahoor Faroqui 2-30) lost to Ballari Tuskers 163 for 5 in 20 overs (CM Gautam 45*; Abhinav Manohar 47; Shreyas Gopal 2-19) by five wickets.
Man of the Match: Abhinav Manohar (Ballari Tuskers)