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|Chethan John William||1||2||0||0||50.00|
|Mir Kaunan Abbas||15||19||2||0||78.95|
Bijapur Bulls might have been written off after their loss to Hubli Tigers in the league stage, but with a win in the semi-final against the same team, they've not only caught a lot of eyeballs but have also qualified for the grand finale. Taking on them will be Bengaluru Blasters, who stormed into the finals with a brilliant win against Mysuru Warriors to continue their winning run. Both the teams have been the point of discussion considering the journey of the two sides. Although the Bulls finished as runners-up last year, they dropped two of their key players prior to this tournament which was quite astonishing. Bengaluru Blasters, on the other hand, finished in the bottom of the table in the last season and the signing of Robbin Uthappa this year has certainly resulted in a change of fortunes for them. It will be interesting to see if they can continue their winning run and deny Bulls the title the second time in two years.
The Blasters continued their brilliant run in the tournament and stormed into the finals with a scintillating win against Mysuru Warriors in the first semifinal. The story of the match was quite similar to what happened in the league match between the same two sides a couple of days earlier.
After being sent into bat by Mysuru Warriors, the Blasters got off to a decent start, but with the pitch turning square, the batsmen weren't able to convert their starts into something big. The Blasters were reduced to 92 for 6 by the 16th over, but a late surge by Manoj Bhandage, who played an important knock of 34 in just 15 deliveries, took their total to 138 for 9 in the allotted 20 overs.
With Arjun Hoysala looking good for the Warriors in the early overs, the chances of a win were quickly diminishing for the Bengaluru Blasters. However, the spin trio of Shreyas Gopal, Anand Doddamani, and Arshdeep Brar spun the game on its head by picking up six wickets between them. They bowlers with superb line and lengths which caused panic among the Warriors eventually leading to a collapse. The Blasters ultimately repeated the result of their last league match and blasted into the grand finale with a confidence-boosting victory.
KB Pawan, RV Uthappa, Pavan Deshpande, AS Brar, Manoj Bhandge, Chethan John William, S Gopal, Abhisek Bhat, Mitrakanth-Yadav, Anand Doddamani, V Koushik.
Unlike the first semi-final where the team batting first defended a low-ish total, the second semifinal saw the team batting second cruise to the total five more than five overs to spare. Bharat Chipli and MG Naveen looked in flawless form as the Bulls cruised to a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Hubli Tigers to announce their arrival in the finals in style.
Hubli Tigers started off pretty well by posting 52 runs for the loss of just one wicket at the end of six overs. However, the Bulls pulled it back with wickets at regular intervals which changed the complexion of the game pretty swiftly. KP Apanna bounced back after being hit for a couple of boundaries to dismiss dangerous looking Mohammad Taha in the same over. Despite Kranthi Kumar's quickfire cameo of 24, the Tigers could only manage a total of 134 runs on the board. Notably, the Bulls dropped as many as five catches which allowed the Tigers to score at least twenty runs more than they should have.
However, it didn't matter much with Bharat Chipli and MG Naveen going bonkers with the bat. After getting off to a steady start with 37 for no loss at the end of the powerplay, the openers kicked on with the run rate with the flurry of fours and sixes. Chipli fell in the fifteenth in a bid to close the game quickly, but that was inconsequential. The Bulls cruised to the final with a with a win which was sealed by a six from MG Naveen's blade with 31 deliveries still in the bank.
Gneshwar Naveen, Bharat Chipli, Mir Kaunan Abbas, Rishab-Singh, KL Shrijith, KN Bharath, Suneel Raju, Bhavesh Gulecha, KC Cariappa, KP Appanna, Suraj Kamath.
The two semifinals, although played on the same surface, were pretty contrasting in the way they panned out. The first one was dominated entirely by the team batting first while in the second semifinal the Bulls chased the target flawlessly. It will be interesting to see how the teams decide to go in the grand finale of Karnataka Premier League 2018. With Robin Uthappa and Shreyas Gopal in excellent form with their experience to add in, the Blasters are firm favorites to win the match and lift the trophy.
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