KPL 2018: Vinay Kumar and team's all-round power fires Hubli to second win
The first game of the Hubli leg of the Karnataka Premier League 2018 had all the ingredients of a spicy T20 contest, just that the show of brilliance came in spurts, and was preceded and succeeded by rain.
The Hubli Tigers essayed a commendable spell of T20 bowling as a unit - while Vinay Kumar ensured that there was no flying start for the Lions in their pursuit of 161. Kranthi Kumar and Darshan MB kept the pressure on from the other end, but it was Mahesh Patel who literally put brakes on the innings, managing a spell of 2-18 off his four.
The Lions kept losing wickets and couldn't put in a decent partnership, which ultimately brought their downfall.
Earlier, the Hubli Tigers started steadily and looked on course for a below-par score, before Vinay Kumar entered and took the bowling attack apart. His quickfire knock, coupled with Praveen Dubey's 32-ball 43 and Darshan MB's three astonishing sixes off the last three balls, made all the difference at the end.
Vinay Kumar decimated K Hoysala, flicking and paddle scooping him like a spinner, but the bowler had the final say, enticing an aerial slice off Vinay Kumar's bat that was brilliantly taken by Liyan Khan at backward point, running back towards the fence to complete the catch. 36 runs of the 46-run partnership where Vinay Kumar's.
Praveen Dubey then took the lead, smacking bowlers over extra cover and midwicket for sixes, but his departure did not make much difference. Darshan MB walked into the middle and smote three consecutive sixes to launch the team over 160 and give them the momentum they needed.
Such cameos were absent from the Lions' batting, their saving grace being Prithvi Shekawat who bowled a beautiful spell of 2-18 from his four overs.
The anti-climax to the game came in the 18th over of the Lions innings, when made a sudden entry and sent the players running back with just one Shivamogga wicket left. They returned to stretch the match to the final over, but were way adrift of the target.
There was little to cheer for Aniruddha Joshi's Lions, with a listless batting performance and a sub-par effort in the field (where they dropped catches in the final overs), but the kind of bowling efforts but in by Shekawat, and a relatively-solid looking opening stand by Liyan Khan and Sharath BR are some of the things they can take heart from.