About the Match
Bijapur Bulls registered a thrilling victory against Belagavi Panthers in the last match by 1 run to make it through to the next stage; they finished at No. 3 with 8 points and knocked out Mysuru Warriors from the race. The Bulls will now take on Namma Shivamogga, who finished right on top of the table with 8 points, on 22nd September at Hubli for the 2nd Semi-Final match of the series. When the two teams met earlier, Shivamogga had won by 28 runs; it needs to be seen if the Bulls can avenge that defeat now in this knock-out match on Friday.
Spinner Prithvi Shekawat and medium-pacer Ronit More combined well to take 2 wickets apiece against Belagavi Panthers in the last game, to defend 154 runs successfully. Naveen MG and HS Sharath also pitched in with a wicket each to contain the opponents. Earlier, captain Bharat Chipli led from the front with a well-made 68 off 52; he was supported by wicket-keeper batsman Kiran, who scored 33 runs, Dikshanshu Negi and HS Sharath down the line. The victory kept their hopes alive and they will now gear up to take on Shivamogga with renewed vigor.
When chasing 162 runs against Shivamogga last time, the batsmen put up a dismal show as players like Bharath Chipli, Naveen MG, Negi and Mohammad Taha failed to build partnerships. Nidhish M posted a well-made 46 while HS Sharath contributed with 16 runs coming in at No.9 but they fell short of the target by a whopping 28 runs. Medium-pacer Abhimanyu Mithun was the most economical of the lot with 2-22 while Ronit More, Shekawat and Naveen took a wicket each.
They have made a brilliant comeback with two consecutive wins; if they can strategize well against the Shivamogga bowlers and hold their wickets, then the Bulls might just cause an upset here.
Spinner Abrar Kazi registered a career-best 3-9 in the match against Mysuru Warriors to stifle the opponents and knock them out of the tournament. His efforts got him the player of the match award, and he is a strong asset to the team. Fast-bowlers Pradeep T, Aditya Somanna, and left-arm chinaman Sarfaraz Ashraf also contributed well with 5 wickets between them and help win the match by 57 runs. Batsmen Rongsen Jonathan and Shoiab Manager played well to post 38 runs each earlier while others like Sadiq Kirmani, captain Balachandra Akhil, and Abrar Kazi kept the scoreboard ticking.
When they met Bijapur Bulls earlier, Liyan Khan had done well to score a half-century while Shoaib Manager was the top-scorer with 66 off 40. The bowlers then defended 161 runs with ease thanks to a brilliant effort by speedster Pradeep T, who took 4-14, and Sarfaraz Ashraf’s stupendous 3-14. Kazi and Anirudha Joshi had also contributed with 1 wicket each and they won the match by 28 runs.
Shivamogga is a strong unit with a well-balanced pace and spin attack; they have a variety of options with the ball and have match-winners in the batting contingent also. Having finished strong in the league, Namma Shivamogga are favorites going into the second semi-finals.
Bijapur Bulls have shown great determination to keep their campaign alive and might prove to be a tough nut to crack here; however, we feel that Namma Shivamogga with its brutal bowling attack is better placed to emerge victorious on Friday.