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|Chethan John William||15||7||1||1||214.29|
|Chethan John William||3.0||0||32||1||10.67|
The seventh season of the Karnataka Premier League 2018 is about to get underway and we have one of the strongest teams this season taking on each other right up front. The defending Champions, Belagavi Panthers, will play against the Bengaluru Blasters. While the Panthers are being billed as one of the pre-tournament favorites, there is some hope that the Blasters will be able to raise their game from last year. They did not win a single game last year and were very disappointing.
Can they give the defending champions a stiff challenge or will the Panthers walk over them again?
The standout player for the Bengaluru Blasters is Robin Uthappa. He not only has previous international experience to call upon but has improved his T20 game immeasurably over the last few years. As an integral part of the Kolkata Knight Riders, Robin Uthappa has been the leading scorer for his side consistently over the last few seasons.
The same kind of performance will be expected of him in the KPL as well but he will be hampered by not having too much support around him.
Prasadh Krishna and Shreyas Gopal will be missing from the side for the initial few matches. The loss of quality players in a tournament like this where quality can be hard to come by is a big loss.
The Bengaluru Blasters have a weak bowling attack and will need their batsmen to pick up the slack. Alongside Robin Uthappa, Pavan Deshpande and KB Pawan will be the players that the team will be hoping to see score runs consistently this season.
The Bengaluru side can only go up from the poor season it had last year but starting well will be very important for them.
KB Pawan, M Vishwanathan, RV Uthappa, Pavan Deshpande, Chethan John William, Manoj Bhandge, AS Brar, Abhisek Bhat, Mitrakanth-Yadav, Anand Doddamani, V Koushik.
The defending champions, Belagavi Panthers, have some of the best players that the state has produced. The side will be led by Stuart Binny who is a genuine all-rounder at this level of the game. He can contribute with both the bat and ball in a decisive manner lending a lot of balance to the side.
Manish Pandey, the best batsman in this side and perhaps the competition, is going to be missing for the initial few matches. He is not going to be replaced easily and his loss makes the Panthers a much more beatable team.
The team also has Stalin Hoover, another adept batsman and two very promising bowlers in Shubham Hegde and Aman Khan.
As a team, the Belagavi Blasters will be confident going into this game because of the success they have enjoyed in the past. It should be remembered, though, that qualifying for the quarter-finals was a tight affair for the team that finished fourth on the league table.
The team will want to avoid such a close call this year and get off the block much faster.
STR Binny, Stalin Hoover, M Nidish, Akshay Ballal, Dikshanshu Negi, S Rakshith, Sadiq Kirmani, HS Sharath, D Avinash, Saurabh Yadav, Shubang Hegde.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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The pitch at the Chinnaswamy has slowed down over the last few years and become much more spin friendly. Having some good bowlers in your side can be invaluable. Clearing the boundaries is easier on this venue than some others because of the high altitude and the small ground.
Some rain has been forecast in the evening, though, and there is a real possibility of a truncated match to start off the tournament.
Belagavi Panthers to win