KPL 2017: Padikkal, Kapoor hand Ballari six-wicket win
Ballari Tuskers secured a comfortable six-wicket victory against Bengaluru Blasters at the Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League 2017, powered by Cycle Pure Agarbathies, on Saturday (16 September) at the KSCA Rajnagar Stadium in Hubbali, riding on 17-year-old Devdutt Padikkal’s 53-ball 72. In a match reduced to an 18-overs-a-side encounter, Ballari reached their target of 124 in 17.2 overs.
It meant the fine efforts of another 17-year-old, Nikin Jose, who scored a 33-ball 55 to help revive Bengaluru’s innings after they were reduced to 63 for 6, went in vain. The victory gave Ballari their second win of the campaign, and they’re now just one point behind the teams placed second to fifth. As for Bengaluru, it was a sixth straight loss in their final match of the tournament.
Padikkal and Kapoor were aggressive right from the outset, attacking whenever the opportunity presented itself. The strategy silenced the usually incisive Bengaluru attack. They ensured there were boundaries almost every over, but really turned it on in the sixth when V Koushik was taken for 14 runs.
The maximums came out shortly thereafter, Padikkal shifting gears by going down on his knee to slog Mitrakanth Yadav and Pranav Bhatia over the ropes. Meanwhile, Kunal Kapoor picked the gaps at the other end, happy to rotate strike and put away the loose deliveries.
Padikkal brought up his half-century off 35 balls, and just carried on in excellent nick, timing the ball exquisitely. Kapoor (40) holed out off Koushik, late in the day, and he was followed by Abhinav Manohar (2) and Amit Verma (2). In the final over, even Padikkal was bowled by Jose, but it was too little too late for Bengaluru.
Earlier, after rain delayed the start by an hour, Bengaluru lost M Vishwanathan (4) in Prateek Jain’s opening over, but recovered as Mitrakanth took Zahoor Farooqi to the cleaners with back-to-back boundaries soon after. In the next over, when spin was introduced through Anil IG, Shivam Mishra tonked him for 14 runs, cutting, sweeping and flicking three fours, and it seemed Bengaluru’s batting woes had abated.
However, Ballari showed why they are defending champions, breaking through in the very next over. Bhavesh Gulecha attacked Mitrakanth’s (10) stumps, and the batsman completely missed his wild heave to be bowled. Mishra (17) then mistimed one off Farooqi, before Pavan Deshpande (4), the captain standing in for the absent Shishir Bhavane, became Gulecha’s second wicket.
The slide continued, but Jose played a vital knock, putting on 17 with Rajoo Bhatkal (7) for the sixth wicket and then 31 with Abhishek Bhat (7) for the seventh to take Bengaluru past the 100-run mark. In the final over, he smacked Jain for consecutive boundaries, the second of which was a scoop over fine leg for six, to bring up his maiden KPL half-century in just 31 balls.
Unfortunately, it proved insufficient against a dominant Ballari.
Brief scores: Bengaluru Blasters 123 for 8 in 18 overs (Nikin Jose 55; Prateek Jain 3-30, Bhavesh Gulecha 3-21) lost to Ballari Tuskers 127 for 4 in 17.2 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 72, Kunal Kapoor 40; V Koushik 2-27) by six wickets.