About the Match
The Karnataka Premier league is about to return for the 2017 season and it will be hoping to make as big a splash as the Tamil Nadu League did. The dates of the tournament were kept so that other domestic tournaments could be avoided, however, a last minute announcement of the Duleep Trophy has meant that some of the big names of Karnataka cricket will miss the majority of the tournament.
The Tigers will be pumped up for this match and looking forward to it as they take on the Belagavi Panthers, the team that they beat them in the semi-final last year. Hubli actually had an excellent season last year, winning five out of its seven league matches and then going on to compete in the finals.
The auction this year has rejigged the teams and past record can only be looked to a certain extent. The biggest gain for Hubli from the auction has been the acquisition of Mayank Aggarwal. He was the highest scorer of the tournament with 414 runs to his name including a highest score of 119 not out.
Ironically, he will make his debut against his former team, the Belgavi Panthers.
Abhishek Reddy played only three matches for the Tigers last year but made an immediate impact. He scored 72 runs in his three outings and will want to use this season to really come into the limelight.
Mayank Aggarwal is not the only player that will be facing up against his former team as R Vinay Kumar is also in the same boat. He played for the Panthers last season and took 8 wickets at an excellent economy rate of 6.68.
R Vinay Kumar was equally impressive with the bat as well scoring 194 runs to be a canny acquisition for Hubli.
Hubli has won three out of the last five matches against the Belagavi Panthers and will enter this game as favorites.
Revenge for the loss in last year’s semi-final will be on the Panthers mind as they start their competition against Hubli. The two cities are traditional rivals of each other in a lot of areas and this will definitely be one encounter that has the fans sweating.
A decent tournament last year with four wins from seven matches saw the Panthers take third place in the group stages but they have lost their two highest scorers and their main wicket takers from last year.
The Panthers splurged most of their money on K Gowtham who only scored 113 runs in the last season but also picked up 11 wickets for his team. He will be a good addition to the Panthers side as he can contribute in all aspects of the game.
They also have Srinath Arvind who played for Hubli last season and took 9 wickets. The experience of playing top-flight cricket will serve Arvind extremely well and we could see him dominating the opposition this season.
Manish Pandey is also a part of the Belagavi side but his international commitments mean that he is not going to be much of a factor in this tournament.
The other big players in this team are Stuart Binny and Stalin Hoover. While Binny has fallen out of favor with national selectors, he is still a name to be reckoned with in domestic cricket. Tournaments like KPL are attracting the attention of top scouts and regional selectors, something that should serve as excellent motivation for Stuart Binny.
Stalin Hoover had an excellent KPL last year as he took 11 wickets for Hubli. He will also be facing up to his old team and trying to get Belagavi off to a winning start.
Pitch and Conditions
History will show that the pitch at the Chinnaswamy is excellent for batting, hitting big sixes and favors the team batting second. In the last IPL though the relaid Chinnaswamy surface was very difficult to score on and offered lots of help to the bowlers.
It will be interesting to see what the groundsman is able to produce for this tournament. There is some rain in the area and we could see an interruption or two but hopefully, nothing that will threaten the match from proceeding.
Hubli Tigers to wi