About the Match
Belagavi Panthers finished at the fourth position with 7 points, after suffering defeat in the last game to Bijapur Bulls. However, they managed to set a semi-final tie with Hubli Tigers, who finished in the second spot with 8 points, to be held at Hubli on 20 September. When these two teams met earlier, Hubli had outwitted Panthers by 6 wickets and they are in good form to repeat the performance again. Belagavi Panthers, on the other hand, have put up a consistent show through the league and can put up a tough fight. It needs to be seen which side becomes the first finalist of KPL 2017 with a win on Wednesday.
Batting first against Tuskers, Abhishek Reddy posted a well-made 46 while Mayank Agarwal scored 35 off 30 to help the team set a good foundation. Swapnil Yelave, Vinay Kumar and all-rounder Kranthi Kumar down the line, did well to keep the scoreboard ticking. They posted 154 runs and the bowlers then went on to defend the reduced target of 124 thanks to a combined effort from spinners like Abhishek Sakuja, who took 2-12, and pacers Vinay Kumar, Kranthi Kumar and Harish Kumar. The victory boosted their ranking and the players will be motivated to keep their campaign alive.
When they played against Panthers earlier, spinners Abhishek Sakuja and Ritesh Bhatkal had found success with two wickets each and helped restrict the opponents to 127 runs. The batting line-up had then easily gunned down the required runs thanks to a superb effort by Krishnamurthy Siddharth, who posted an unbeaten 61 to steer the team across the finish line. Captain Vinay Kumar also did well to score 22 while Praveen Dubey and Mayank Agarwal chipped in with more runs.
The Hubli Tigers have the home advantage here in this crucial match and with their recent form with ball and bat; they surely could prove to be a formidable force to reckon with.
Chasing 155 against Bijapur Bulls proved to be an uphill task for the batsmen as players like Sharath BR, KN Bharath and Sunil Kumar Jain fell quickly without much contribution. Stallin Hoover tried his best to revive the innings with 23 runs before getting run-out; it was Stuart Binny’s unbeaten 55 off 40 that gave them hope to win but with not much support from the other end, they lost the match by meager 1 run. Earlier, medium-pacer Avinash D took a superb 3-32 while others like Sreenath Aravind and spinner Shubang Hegde took a wicket each to restrict the opposition to 154.
Against Tuskers recently, Hoover did well to post 62 off 43 while others like Manish Pandey, Sharath BR, and Rakshith contributed to taking the scoreboard to 154. The bowlers led by spinner Krishnappa Gowtham’s splendid 4-23 then defended the total to win the match by 25 runs. Kishore Kamat, Hegde, Aravind, and Avinash are also in good form and provide regular breakthroughs with the ball.
Overall, they have done well this season and will leave no stone unturned to cross this hurdle too. They will take a cautious approach while batting as the Tigers have stumped before them.
Although both teams are strong contenders this season, Hubli Tigers do have the psychological advantage of having defeated Belagavi Panthers before, as well as the home advantage. The bowling attack is good on both sides but we feel that the Tigers’ well-poised batting form makes them favorites to win here.