KPL Season 6 champions Belagavi Panthers will be keen on getting their campaign off to a positive start when they square off against the Ballari Tuskers in Match 3 of the Karnataka Premier League 2019 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
The Panthers made two exciting retentions before the player auctions as they opted to retain the services of young left-arm spinner Shubhang Hegde and pacer Avinash D. From the auctions, they roped in the services of attacking batsmen Abhinav Manohar, Mir Kaunain Abbas and opener Ravikumar Samarth.
They also signed the services of Manish Pandey, who could be banked to produce his best in this tournament. D Negi is a vital all-rounder to their side while the likes of Ritesh Bhatkal, Stalin Hoover and Zahoor Farooqui will form a major chunk of the bowling unit.
The Ballari Tuskers too have a solid squad at their disposal, with a good mix of youth and experience. K Gowtham, CM Gautam and CA Karthik are the three key batsmen in the side while Prasidh Krishna, Pradeep T and Abrar Kazi will be banked to lead the bowling attack.
Squads to choose from
Belagavi Panthers: Mir Kaunian Abbas (C), Shubhang Hegde, Avinash D, Manish Pandey, D Negi, Abhinav Manohar, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Ritesh Bhatkal, Stalin Hoover, Darshan MB, Ravikumar Samarth, Zahoor Farooqui, Kiran AM, Rakshith S, Lochan Appanna, Darshan Machaiah, Abdul Majid.
Ballari Tuskers: CM Gautam (C), Devdutt P, CA Karthik, Abhishek Reddy, Krishnappa Gowtham, Prasidh Krishna, Pradeep T, Abrar Kazi, KP Appanna, Mohammad N Nizar, Bhavesh Gulecha, Zeeshan A Sayyad, Ruchir Joshi, Santok Singh, Vishnu Priyan, Gaurav Dhiman, Sharath Srinivas, Suraj Reddy, Sharana Basawa.
Probable Playing XIs
Mir Kaunain Abbas will be leading a side full of potential and will be keen on picking his first win as captain while CM Gautam, who has acres of experience could hold the 'X-factor' for his side.
Belagavi Panthers: Ravikumar Samarth, Stalin Hoover, Manish Pandey, Mir Kaunain Abbas (C), Abhinav Manohar, Dikshanshu Negi, Kiran AM (wk), Ritesh Bhatkal, Zahoor Farooqui, Shubhang Hegde, Avinash D.
Ballari Tuskers: Devdutt Padikkal, Abhishek Reddy, CM Gautam, CA Karthik, Gaurav Dhiman, Sharath Srinivas, KP Appanna, Prasidh Krishna, Pradeep T, Abrar Kazi, Bhavesh Gulecha.
Belagavi Panthers v Ballari Tuskers, Karnataka Premier League, Match 3
17th August, 7.30 PM IST.
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Pitch and weather report
The opening fixture of the season failed to produce a result as incessant rains forced the players and officials to stay off the field for an extended period of time. Showers of similar nature are expected today, which could yet again either force a no-result or a shortened game.
Fantasy Tips and Suggestions
Wicket-keeper: CM Gautam is the first-choice wicketkeeper for this side, given the wealth of experience he brings to the side and his position in the batting order. With an ability to switch gears at will, Gautam's stroke-making could be a value for money pick.
Batsmen: Abhinav Manohar is an important choice to form this squad, with his six-hitting skill certain to come to the fore. Last season, Manohar was in fine form and finished the season with a strike rate of 167.44, a commendable figure for the T20 format.
Manish Pandey is a proven customer in the format and could prove to be the game-changer for the Panthers while Stalin Hoover's ability to float around in the batting order could come in handy.
Abhishek Reddy has shifted teams and will represent the Tuskers this season, with the opener bound to make an impression with his patience and assurance.
All-rounders: CA Karthik had a fantastic run last season with the bat as he scored 134 runs from five matches at a strike rate of 174.03 and will be banked to produce the goods yet again, with the Tuskers shelling out a large portion of their purse to re-procure his services.
Similar is the case of Ritesh Bhatkal, albeit for the Panthers as his off-spin could prove to stem the flow of runs in the middle overs. At an economy of 6.57 last season, Bhatkal was a vital cog in the Tuskers' bowling unit and will hold the aces yet again.
Bowlers: Bhavesh Gulecha played a vital part in the Bijapur Bulls' title win last season with 5 wickets from three matches and will play a crucial role in the Tuskers' bowling unit while KP Appanna could prove to be dangerous if the pitch offers even a slight amount of turn.
Prasidh Krishna was roped in for a massive sum of money and is expected to lead the Tuskers' bowling unit with his experience from the IPL and the junior Indian sides. Young Shubhang Hegde, who was retained by the Panthers will hold the key to apply pressure on the opposition batsmen.
Captain: Manish Pandey is certainly the front-runner to make a big mark in this competition and with the skill set he possesses, one should ideally look no further than Pandey as the captain of this side, while Abhinav Manohar and Stalin Hoover could also be top choices.
Fantasy Suggestion #1: C Gautam, A Manohar (VC), A Reddy, M Pandey (C), S Hoover, C Karthik, R Bhatkal, B Gulecha, K Appanna, P Krishna, S Hegde.
Fantasy Suggestion #2: C Gautam, A Manohar (C), A Reddy, K Abbas, M Pandey (VC), C Karthik, D Avinash, D Negi, K Appanna, P Krishna, Z Farooqui.