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|Sunil Kumar Jain||11||17||1||0||64.71|
|Mahesh Patel B M||4.0||0||32||0||8.00|
After a hard tussle between seven teams in the ongoing Karnataka Premier League, we finally have the four semifinalists. The first semifinal will be played between the Warriors and the Blasters while we'll see Hubli Tigers take on the last year runners-up, Bijapur Bulls, in the second semifinal which is to be played on 5th Septemeber 2018 at SDNR Wadiyar Stadium, Mysore. With both teams just one step away from the title, both teams are expected to give their everything to get a win here. We've seen five of the last six games go down to the wire with all of those finishing in the last over and we expect it to be a thrilling contest as well.
The Tigers continued their brilliant run in the competition in their last league match as well where they defeated Belgavi Panthers by a massive margin of 44 runs. The win not only propelled the Tigers to the second spot but also sent Belgavi Panthers crashing out of the tournament.
Batting first on a decent batting surface, the Tigers were staring at a low total after a poor start as they were reduced to 33 for 3 in the fourth over. Opener Abhishek Reddy and Praveen Dubey stitched a wonderful partnership to bail them out of trouble. The partnership lasted for 69 deliveries and raised a total of 100 runs. With a small but important cameo from R Vinay Kumar towards the end of their innings, the Tigers reached the total of 184 which eventually proved to be out of reach for the Panthers. Abhishek Reddy was their chief-scorer who contributed with an unbeaten 74-run knock coming in just 37 deliveries.
After a breezy finish to the innings with an important cameo, skipper R Vinay Kumar went on to bowl a game-changing spell with the ball. On top of his 21-run knock, he dismissed four Panthers' batsmen giving away just 19 runs in his four overs. He became the first player ever in KPL to score a total of 1000 runs and get 50 wickets. It, however, wasn't a completely one-man show. Other bowlers plugged one end while Kumar kept chipping away with the wickets.
Mohammad Taha, Abhishek Reddy, Sujith Gowda, Sunil Kumar Jain, Praveen Dubey, RV Kumar, Kranti Kumar, AM Kiran, MB Darshan, Mahesh Patel B M, punith.
Bijapur Bulls blasted their way into the playoffs with a close win where they pipped Mysuru Warriors by just two runs. Being put in to bat by the Warriors, the Bulls did not get off the start they were looking for and lost a couple of wickets for just 22 runs. Bharat Chipli got a respite in second over when Shoaib Manager dropped him at covers.
After getting set, Chipli and Mir Abbas pushed the scoring rate along which was helped by a good final flourish by their late-order batsmen. Bharat Chipli and Kaunian Abbas were dismissed for 63 and 42 respectively, Suneel Raju and KL Shrijith played vital knocks down the order.
Just like the start they had with the bat, their start with the ball was poor, to say the least. Their quick bowlers conceded 43 runs in just over four overs. With the chances of a win appearing bleak, the introduction of K.C. Cariappa and Zahoor Farooqui changed things around. Arjun Hoysala was dismissed by Cariappa and Farooqui sent Amit Verma back to the pavilion. With wickets at regular intervals, the Bulls bounced back into the match which they eventually won by two runs.
Gneshwar Naveen, Bharat Chipli, Mir Kaunan Abbas, Shishir Bhavane, KL Shrijith, KN Bharath, Suneel Raju, Bhavesh Gulecha, KC Cariappa, KP Appanna, Suraj Kamath.
It's been a pretty good build-up to this game with almost all preceding matches played in the past week finishing in the final over. Both the teams are coming on the back of a win and the contest between the two sides will be interesting. The Tigers have been one of the best sides, both in this edition and historically, and will be tough to beat. Skipper R Vinay Kumar has contributed immensely to their wins with ample support from other players. Due to the above-mentioned reasons, the Tigers are better placed to win the second semifinal and march into the grand finale.
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