Ballari Tuskers is a franchise representing the city of Ballari in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL).
The franchise was not part of the tournament when it started in 2009. Two seasons later, the team joined the competition in 2014. They lifted the trophy in 2016 defeating Hubli Tigers in the final under the leadership of Amit Verma.
In the 2014 KPL auction, Arvind Venkatesh Reddy had bought the Ballari-based team. Later in 2016, Kannada film actress Ragini Dwivedi purchased a portion of the Tusker’s share. Since the beginning, the franchise has focused on the local talents and taken more local players than other KPL teams.
The team started the 2016 campaign with three consecutive defeats in first three matches. Following which Balachandra Akhil was sacked as the captain and Amit Verma took the charge.
The team witnessed a major turn around as the side won all their four remaining group matches and qualified for the semi-final where they beat Mysuru Warriors by 10 runs.
In the final against Hubli Tigers, Balachandra Akhil’s quick-fire 50 runs off 24 balls and Rohan Kadam's 61 runs helped the Tuskers to post 189/5 in 20 overs. Chasing 190, Hubli Tigers struggled before Steve Lazarus as the left-arm orthodox picked up three wickets sparing only 21 runs in 4 overs. Ultimately, the Tuskers won the final by 35 runs to lift their maiden KPL title.
Balachandra was adjudged as the Player of the Match while Amit Verma was selected as the Player of the Tournament.
Career Trajectory of the Club
Despite lifting the title once, the franchise does not have a great winning percentage in their four seasons in the KPL. The Ballari-based team won only around 42 per cent of its match. The Tuskers could go beyond the group-stage only once in their four seasons.
Although the franchise kept their core team almost intact and included some talented youngsters in 2017, the team failed to replicate its tournament-winning performance in the previous. They once again could make it to the knockout stage finishing sixth among seven teams with only 5 points in six matches.
Like previous years, the franchise emphasized on having a perfect combination of experience and youth in the team in 2018. They retained four players including wicketkeeper CM Gautam and rising star Devdutt Padikkal along with snapping in-form Dega Nischal, talented leg-spinner Abrar Kazi in the 2018 auction. They bolstered their bowling unit with several new bowling talents.