About the Match
Early indications from the KPL seem to suggest that the league is going to be a tightly contested one as most of the teams are stacked evenly against each other. The Hubli Tigers were one of the most impressive teams last year, losing narrowly in the finals, and will be up against the newest team in the league, the Bengaluru Blasters.
What can you really judge about a team from an 8 over shootout? Unfortunately, that was exactly what the Blasters got as their first KPL match experience. They ended up giving away 84 runs in those 8 overs and then fell short by 38 runs. A big defeat under the conditions that the match was played.
There were some things that came to the fore though.
In M Prasidh Krishna, the Blasters have an excellent medium pace bowler who can vary his deliveries with control. His two overs for 12 runs with 2 wickets was a fantastic performance in testing conditions. V Koushik had some trouble finding the correct line, as did Mitrakant Yadav but the nucleus of a decent bowling attack is definitely present.
What will be more troubling for the Blasters was their batting performance. Ravikumar Samarth was always going to be the main batsman of this team but his dismissal for a duck showed the lack of batting depth that the Blasters are suffering from.
Only a total of three 4’s and one 6 was hit in the entire chase. That is difficult to rectify in the short turnaround time this tournament will offer and could mean that the Blasters need Samarth to fire in every single match.
The Tigers already have one win under their belt and will be confident of adding another in this game. They chased down a smallish total with a lot of ease thanks to a stellar inning by KV Siddharth. His 61 not out from 51 balls included 2 sixes and helped his team recover from a potentially tricky situation.
The Tigers will know that having the likes of Mayank Aggarwal at the top of the order and R Vinay Kumar in the lower middle order gives them a lot of balance in the batting, especially now that Siddharth has also shown good form at the start of the tournament.
Credit for this win, however, should go to the bowlers that struck excellent lines and never let the opposition batsmen get away. R Vinay Kumar finished with 2 wickets for 19 runs in his 4 overs while Sakuja and Bhatkal also took 2 wickets each for not too many runs.
David Mathias was the only bowler that was expensive in the last match as he gave away 38 runs in his four overs.
The Tigers have changed their set up massively from last year and that could mean a bit of an adjustment period in the first couple of matches but the personnel that they have at their disposal makes them one of the strongest teams in the competition for sure.
Pitch and Conditions
The weather forecast for the match is not very encouraging. There is plenty of rain around and we could have another washout on our hands. Hopefully, though, the rain will abate for the duration of the match.
Hubli Tigers to win