KPL 2018: Abhishek Bhat steers Bengaluru Blasters to astounding heist
At various stages of their run-chase, Bengaluru Blasters seemed down and out. Yet, they somehow found a way to pull off a brilliant heist against Namma Shivamogga at the KSCA Rajnagar Stadium in Hubballi.
Bengaluru Blasters' thrilling two-wicket victory was made possible by a game-changing knock from seam all-rounder Abhishek Bhat. The 28-year old smashed an unbeaten 40 from just 19 balls to pull the rug under Shivamogga.
Blasters skipper Robin Uthappa decided to bowl first after winning the toss. The medium pace of Bhat delivered an early breakthrough. However, Shivamogga regrouped admirably after the dismissal of opener Liyan Khan.
Wicket-keeper batsman Nihal Ullal combined splendidly with K Rohit to establish a solid platform for his team. But a flurry of wickets turned the tide in Bengaluru's favour. Off-spinner Arshdeep Singh's double-wicket overdid the bulk of the damage.
A lower-order partnership from Rongsen Jonathan and skipper Aniruddha Joshi played a key role in setting a competitive target of 147. The Blasters' run-chase began horribly wrong as they lost five wickets in the first seven overs.
Aditya Somanna and Prithviraj Shekhawat picked two wickets each to reduce Bengaluru to 46/5. A fighting cameo from Pavan Deshpande kept the pursuit on track. When he fell in the 13th over, Shivamogga sensed victory.
Even as Bharath Devaraj played the anchor role by operating with caution, the onus fell on Abhishek Bhat to breathe new life into the run-chase. That, he did. The right-hander kept the scoreboard flowing by finding the boundary at crucial junctures in the contest.
The situation got trickier for Bengaluru when Devaraj succumbed at the start of the 18th over. However, Bhat held his nerve to plunder a six and then a boundary in the same over. As the equation came down to eight runs from seven balls, he struck the decisive blow to place his team on top. V Koushik hit the winning runs in the last over to complete a remarkable triumph.
Brief Scores: Namma Shivamogga - 146/6 (Rongsen Jonathan 37, K Rohit 36, Arshdeep Singh 2/7); Bengaluru Blasters - 147/8 from 19.1 overs (Abhishek Bhat 40*, Bharath Devaraj 38, Aditya Somanna 3/34)
Result - Bengaluru Blasters won by two wickets with five balls to spare