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|Sunil Kumar Jain||23||33||1||0||69.70|
|Rohit Kumar Paudel||4||6||1||0||66.67|
|Mahesh Patel B M||4.0||0||19||2||4.75|
It's hardly been half-a-week since Karnataka Premier League commenced and there's already been plenty of action. Bengaluru Blasters have won both their games and are sitting at the top of the table. Hubli Tigers are the only other team besides Blaster who started its campaign on a winning note. They defeated Bijapur Bulls in their first game and will be looking to repeat that against Shivamogga Lions on 19th August to get par with the Blasters, as far as the points table is concerned. On the contrary, Shivamogga Lions are one of the only two teams which are yet to play in this edition of the tournament. They'll be looking to continue from where they left last season and kickstart their campaign with a win.
Led by the veteran, R Vinay Kumar, the Tigers are coming into this game on the back of a win in their opening encounter against the Bulls. Although they won the match at the end, skipper Vinay Kumar clearly wasn't happy the way their chase panned out. Chasing a modest total of 128, they lost six wickets and got home in the 19th over.
Legspinner Mahesh Patel played a vital role for the Tigers to ensure that the Bulls do not bounce back after a modest beginning. He picked up three crucial wickets after Vinay Kumar, Kranthi Kumar, and MB Darshan bowled tight spells in the powerplay. Patel and IG Anil strangled Bulls in the middle overs and dismissed five batsmen between them. IG Anil and Mahesh Patel returned with the figures of 4-0-28-2 and 4-0-16-3 respectively which was eventually proved to be a game-changing partnership in bowling.
Although the Tigers came on top, skipper R Vinay Kumar was clearly disappointed at the presentation ceremony about the way they went about the chase. Mohammad Taha was their only batsmen putting a value on his wicket. He played an important 62-run knock which took 50 deliveries. He had his share of luck as the Bulls missed a few chances to dismiss him. The emphasis for the Tigers would be to improve their batting as the tournament progresses as their bowlers might not be able to restrict the opponents on such scores too often.
Abhishek Reddy, AM Kiran, Sujith Gowda, Sunil Kumar Jain, RV Kumar, Praveen Dubey, Nitin Bhille, Kranti Kumar, Mahesh Patel B M, IG Anil, MB Darshan.
Shivamogga Lions will start their first game without their key player, Abhimanyu Mithun, who is away to play Duleep Trophy. Considering the amount he was picked for in the auction, his unavailability is definitely a big blow for them. Their new leader Aniruddha Joshi, their only retention from Pool A, will be a vital player for them.
The most striking aspect in their lineup as compared to the last year is the absence of Balachandra Akhil, the 40-year old warhorse, who led the team to knockouts last year. The balance of their team will largely depend on the all-around performance of Jonathan R as they spent a hefty amount to get him back at the auction.
Considering the way spinners have done in the tournament so far, Kishore Kamath is likely to play a vital role along with young Prithviraj Shekhavat. Their batting will largely revolve around Nihal Ullal, Liyan Khan, and Sharath BR. They look a little weak on paper without Abhimanyu Mithun in the lineup, but they certainly have enough talent in the bank to break any team on their day.
Rohit Kumar, BR Sharath, Liyan Khan, Rongsen Jonathan, Anirudha Joshi, Prithviraj Shekawat, K Kamath, Adhoksh Hegde, Aditya Somanna, Abhilash Shetty, K Hoysala.
With Duck-Worth Lewis likely to come into the picture and an excellent batting surface, expect the team winning the toss to bowl first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Considering the city of Hubli has been receiving a fair bit of rainfall over the past few days, the groundsmen have done an excellent to keep the surface hard and fresh. It's going to be an excellent sporting wicket with batsmen getting good value for their shots. There is a prediction of rain in the evening and Duckworth-Lewis could come into the picture. Anything below 160 should not pose any problems for the chasing team.
While the Tigers were found wanting with the bat in their opening match, the Lions appear to be a little short of experience with Abhimanyu Mithun not in the team. It would be interesting to see if the Tigers can put up a better show with the bat in front of their home crowd or will it be Lions' day to roar. Having played and won a match already in the tournament, the Tigers will start as favorites, largely due to the momentum garnered from their opening game and the experience they have in both their batting and bowling department.