Hubli Tigers is a franchise representing the city of Hubli in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL). It is one of most consistent teams in the history of the tournament.
The franchise did not participate in first two seasons of the tournament before joining it in 2014. The Tigers came close to winning the trophy twice but finished as the runners-up on both occasions in 2015 and 2016.
In the 2014 auction, Sushil Jindal and Abhishek Jindal of Jindal Steels bought the franchise. The team is actively engaged with wildlife conservation in Karnataka.
Winning five consecutive matches, the franchise reached their maiden KPL final in 2015. The team won by 23 runs against Belagavi Panthers in the Qualifier 2.
Asked to bat first in th final, the Tigers lost two wickets within first four overs and could never rejuvenate from the situation. Thanks to Kranthi Kumar's 21 runs of 16 balls towards the end, they went past 100-run mark posting 114/9 in their 20 overs. Bijapur Bulls easily chased down the target with 17 balls to spare and won the final by 7 wickets.
In the 2016 edition, Hubli Tigers started strongly as they finished second in the group stage winning five of their seven matches. Chasing 154 in the first semi-final, Chethan William's blistering 39 runs off 13 balls helped the Tigers to reach the final for the second consecutive season.
Winning the toss in the final, the Tigers asked Ballary Tuskers to bat first and the Tuskers posted 189/5 in their 20 overs. Chasing 190, the Tigers never looked in shape and lost wickets at regular intervals. Failing to stitch any significant partnership, the Tigers heartbreakingly lost second consecutive KPL final by 35 runs.
Career Trajectory of the Club
Despite winning 60 percent of its matches in the KPL since 2014 which is much more than many teams in the competition, the franchise could not manage to win the title. In their four seasons, the team could not qualify for the knockout stage only once in 2014.
In 2017, the side performed really well securing four wins in six group matches before crashing out in the semi-final against Belagavi Panthers. Abhishek Sakuja was the highest wicket-taker of the KPL in the season.
For the 2018 season, the franchise retained their core team with keeping faith on the 2017 captain Vinay Kumar, Abhishek Sakuja, rising leg-spinner Praveen Dubey, Abhishek Reddy. In the auction, they snapped Mohammed Taha who was the Tiger’s highest scorer in 2016 along with all-rounder Melu Kranti Kumar. The team seems to be perfectly balanced with the proper mixing of experience and youth.