About the Match
Bijapur Bulls registered an emphatic win against favorites Namma Shivamogga in the second semi-final of KPL to become the 2nd finalist of the series; they will take on Belagavi Panthers in the Final match to be held at Hubli on 23rd September. Panthers defeated Hubli Tigers in their own backyard to make it through while the Bulls caused a major upset by ousting the strong contenders this year. When these two teams had met earlier, Bijapur Bulls had won the match by a close margin of 1 run; it needs to be seen if they can repeat the feat here on Saturday. Both sides are strong in all departments of the game and we can surely expect to see some fireworks in this title clash.
Batting first against Hubli Tigers, openers Bharath and Stalin Hoover look determined to build a solid foundation and that’s what they did. Both batsmen posted 60+ runs each to get them to a respectable 152. The bowlers then wrapped it up as medium pacer Avinash D took a remarkable 4-8 in less than 3 overs while fast bowler Anand Doddamani claimed 3-18 to stun the hosts. They won the rain-affected match by 14 runs through the VJD method.
Others like Shubang Hegde and Sreenath Aravind are also in good form with the ball, and players like Stuart Binny and Hoover add depth to the attack. The batting line-up consists of strong assets like Binny, Hoover, Bharath, Rakshith and Kishore Kamat, who bring their all-rounder skills to the table.
When they played against the Bulls last time, the top-order put up a dismal show and they failed to chase down 155 despite a heroic 55 by Stuart Binny. Avinash had dismissed 3 opponents earlier while Aravind and Hegde had provided one breakthrough each. They will be cautious against the Bulls in this crucial match and could come out all guns blazing.
A disciplined bowling attack by players like Abhimanyu Mithun, Naveen MG, Prithvi Shekawat and Sharath helped them restrict the hard-hitting Shivamogga batsmen to 157. The batting line-up then delivered results as the middle-order came back strong after an initial hiccup at the top-order. Dikshanshu Negi and Nidhish M posted 20+ runs each while Naveen MG and Sharath kept the scoreboard ticking; however, it was Abhimanyu Mithun’s match-winning 32 off just 12 balls that got them across the finish line with 4 wickets to spare. The all-rounder bowler won the player of the match award and he has proved yet again to be a strong asset.
Against Panthers, they have done well in all areas of the game, with captain Bharath Chipli leading from the front with the bat as he scored a superb 68 and wicket-keeper batsman Kiran scoring 33. Ronit More and Prithvi Shekawat then delivered with the ball as they dismissed 2 opponents each while Naveen and Sharath removed one wicket each to stifle Panthers by a 1-run margin.
They are a formidable force to reckon with and have already caused a major upset by defeating the in-form Shivamogga team; with a good strategy and young match-winners on their side, they surely can take the top honors this year.
Belagavi Panthers have consistently performed well throughout the league however, they did face defeat at the hands of the Bulls earlier. While the contest could go down to the wire, we feel that Belgavi Panthers who have been a better them throughout with their newly revived confidence, are better placed to take home the trophy on Saturday.