Hubli Tigers were at their proficient best as they notched a 20-run win over the Shivamogga Lions at the SDNR Stadium on Thursday with an exceptional all-round effort to make it to Qualifier 2 of the Redmi Karnataka Premier League, powered by Dream11.
The Tigers now face Belagavi Panthers, the losing side from Qualifier 1, for a spot in the final against the Ballari Tuskers.
Riding on a stellar show from their batsmen, the Tigers cruised to 190 for 5 in 20 overs in the face of a tepid show from the Lions. When it was Lions’ turn to bat, they were made to realise just how loose they had been with the ball on a wicket which wasn’t conducive to strokes. They crawled to 170 all out in 19.3 overs with Mitrakanth Yadav returning figures of 3 for 18 in four overs.
But the game was as good as done in the first half when Lions’ normally stringent attack betrayed them. Lions needed something special from their batsmen, but barring knocks from Pavan Deshpande (38) and Abhimanyu Mithun (40) towards the fag end, they had nothing to write home about.
Opting to bowl, the Lions operated with very little direction and it was a problem which started at the very top as Mithun, the Lions’ skipper, looked out of sorts. The rest of the unit and the fielders weren't particularly inspiring either.
Capitalising on this all-round lack of discipline, R Vinay Kumar (55 from 45 balls), KB Pawan (56 not out from 39 balls) and Mohammad Taha (41 from 22 balls) had their way. If anything, the Lions got away with it because the pitch was a bit harder to play on than the one used on Wednesday.
Despite a sticky wicket, the second-wicket 42-run partnership between Taha and Vinay Kumar, still nursing a groin injury, quelled early shouts of encouragement from the fielders. Though a 35-minute rain delay gave the Lions an opportunity to reassess the situation, they came out looking as hapless as before.
By the tenth over the innings, the Lions turned off and went through the motions. Contrastingly, the Tigers switched gears at around the same time with Pawan and Pravin Dubey (23) getting into a good space for the final flourish.
In response, the Lions’ score (122) was near identical to Tigers’ 126 for 2 after 15 overs, but the difference was that the former had lost five more wickets at the same stage. What a big difference that turned out to be.
Brief scores: Hubli Tigers 190 for 5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Taha 41, R Vinay Kumar 55, KB Pawan 56 not out, Pravin Dubey 23) vs Shivamogga Lions 170 all out in 19.3 overs (Pavan Deshpande 38, M Nidhish 26, Abhimanyu Mithun 40; Mitrakanth Yadav 3-18, Abhilash Shetty 3-39, Aditya Somanna 2-30) by 20 runs.