Provident stay on top

Cricket: Mantri Karnataka Premier League: Akhil, Verma shine as Panthers suffer second straight loss


CAPTAIN'S KNOCK: B Akhil’s 34 took Provident home on Thursday. dh photo/ srikanta sharma R

Panthers did not change the custom of batting first after winning the toss, but they could not capitalise on the right call, ending up at a below par 116 for six. Provident never looked in serious trouble as they scaled down the target with comfort.

There were expectations of J Arun Kumar and Manish Pandey unleashing the mayhem when Panthers’ openers came out to bat. But the hard-hitting duo could not repeat its marauding ways against the disciplined Provident new-ball bowlers, NC Aiyappa and BH Sunil Kumar.

Aiyappa might have his wicket coloumn empty, but the Coorg pace bowler produced an excellent spell (4-0-17-0), never allowing the Panthers’ openers to break free.

Once deprived of freebies, frustration crept into the minds of Arun and Pandey evidenced by the extra risky shots they played in search of runs. Sunil Kumar fetched the first breakthrough when he managed to induce an edge from Arun for stumper VS Thilak Naidu to complete a good effort.

The dismissal of their captain/coach spoiled their ambitions of getting to a rousing start, but more alarmingly it also pushed the other Panthers’ batsmen into a siege mentality. Choked by their own fears and spot-on bowling, particularly from Sarfarz Ashraf (3-22), Belagavi batsmen found the going tough, never quite managing to up the ante.

It just needed some sensible batting from Provident to hunt down the target and they did just that with man of the match B Akhil leading from the front.

However, their beginning too did not have a rosy touch to it, losing openers Ashraf and Thilak Naidu, with just 20 runs on the board.

After managing to dismiss in-form Naidu, caught by Arun off David Johnson, Panthers might have envisaged to make some more inroads into the Provident line-up. But Amit Verma and Akhil thwarted their designs during their third-wicket alliance, blending aggression and defence to nicety. They milked 57 runs off 40 balls to turbocharge Provident’s march.

Verma was serene in his ways, and it was Akhil who donned the role of enforcer. His 34 (23b, 5x4, 1x6) was the fuel that ignited Provident’s chase and his huge six off AR Mahesh was an ample evidence of his intentions.

The departure of Akhil and Amit did not change the course of the proceedings as Provident eased past the target.

SCORE BOARD

BELAGAVI PANTHERS: J Arun Kumar c Naidu b Sunil Kumar 19; Manish Pandey c Bhatkal b Ashraf 19; Vinay Uthappa c Bhatkal b Ashraf 12; Shyam Ponnappa c A Joshi b Akhil 34; R Vinay Kumar c A Joshi b Ashraf 4; David Johnson c Sunil Jain b Sunil Kumar 5; Suraj Sampath (not out) 17; AR Mahesh (not out) 2; Extras (B-2, W-2) 4; Total (for 6 wkts, 20 overs) 116

Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-49, 3-54, 4-72, 5-87, 6-106

Bowling: NC Aiyappa 4-0-17-0, Sunil Kumar 4-0-28-2, B Akhil 4-0-29-1, Anand Katti 4-0-18-0, Sarfraz Ashraf 4-0-22-3.

PROVIDENT BANGALORE: Sarfraz Ashraf c Samapth b Madhusudan 9; VS Thilak Naidu c Arun b Johnson 10; Amit Verma b Arun 31; B Akhil c Mahesh b Sayed 34; Sunil Kumar Jain (not out) 12; Aniruddha Joshi (run out) 17; NC Aiyappa (not out) 1; Extras (LB-1, W-5) 6; Total (for 5 wkts, 18.4 overs) 120

Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-20, 3-77, 4-89, 5-109.

Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 3.4-0-23-0, David Johnson 3-0-21-0, R Madhusudan 4-0-20-1, AR Mahesh 2-0-20-0, Ramling Patil 1-0-7-0, J Arun Kumar 3-0-12-1, Zeeshan Ali Sayed 2-0-16-1.

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