KPL 2018: Hubli Tigers down Mysuru Warriors in thrilling finish
Hubli Tigers held their nerve to overcome a spirited challenge from Mysuru Warriors in a pulsating KPL contest at the KSCA Rajnagar Stadium in Hubballi. Defending four runs from the last ball, Kranthi Kumar procured the wicket of SP Manjunath to propel the hosts to a thrilling triumph.
Hubli's victory was shaped by opener Mohammed Taha's stroke-filled half-century earlier in the game. Upon electing to bat first, they got off the blocks on a positive note as the right-hander went about targeting the boundary.
Taha was the dominant partner in a vital 60-run partnership for the second wicket. When he was eventually dismissed by Jagadeesha Suchith, the opening batsman had amassed 68 runs from 47 deliveries. His fluent knock was laced with as many as 14 boundaries.
A couple of handy wickets brought Mysuru back into the match. Sujith Gowda controlled the middle-order with a purposeful knock. When it looked like Hubli was going to settle for a below-par total on a batting-friendly track, skipper Vinay Kumar injected momentum into the innings by smashing 30 runs from just 17 balls.
The Warriors started their run-chase rapidly as Arjun Hoysala and Raju Bhatkal put on an enterprising opening partnership. The introduction of Suraj Seshadri tilted the scales in Hubli's favour. He removed the top three batsmen in an extremely productive spell.
From 83/3, Mysuru collapsed in a heap. A flurry of wickets left them at a perilous position of 108/6. Even as wickets kept falling around him, middle-order batsman Shoaib Manager showed his composure by taking control of the run-chase.
From the last two overs, Mysuru required 28 runs. But they only had three wickets in hand. Shoaib smashed two successive sixes off MB Dharshan to take his team closer to the target. However, the medium pacer had the last laugh by removing the rampaging right-hander in the penultimate delivery of the 19th over.
Vyshak Kumar found the boundary in the third ball of the last over to bring the equation down to seven runs off three balls. However, all-rounder Kranthi Kumar restricted the lower-order batsmen to three runs from the subsequent two balls.
With four runs needed off the last delivery, SP Manjunath danced down the track and heaved across the line. But the thick edge landed into the hands of the short third man and resulted in the Tigers completing a nervy three-run victory.
Brief Scores: Hubli Tigers - 182/6 (Mohammed Taha 68, Sujith Gowda 31, Vinay Kumar 30*, Vyshak Kumar 3/45); Mysuru Warriors - 179/9 (Shoaib Manager 58, Arjun Hoysala 31, Suraj Seshadri 3/24, Mahesh Patel 2/35)
Result - Hubli Tigers won by three runs