Provident in a spot of bother

Kunal bats Malnad outfit to convincing victory

 

Their confidence was reflected in their decision to bat first, with the think tank feeling that they could bat Gladiators out of the game. But it did not pan out that way as Gladiators produced their best bowling effort so far to restrict Provident for 108 for nine at the Gangotri Glades on Sunday.

The Shimoga outfit scaled down the target without much ado to carve a fine eight-wicket win to end their KPL campaign on a high. As action shifts to Bangalore, this defeat makes it mandatory for Provident (8 points) to defeat Mysore Maharaajas (6 points) in their final league tie on Monday to avoid a tricky four-way tie also involving Bijapur Bulls and Belagavi Panthers, who have eight points apiece. With regular opener VS Thilak Naidu unable to take the field, Provident had to bring back MK Manjunath, who looked out of touch in earlier matches, to partner Sarfraz Ashraf.

A Mithun fetched the first breakthrough for Gladiators when he dislodged Ashraf, eliciting an edge for KC Avinash to complete a simple effort behind the stumps. But he inflicted a bigger blow soon, giving marching orders to Provident skipper B Akhil, caught in the deep by Raju Bhatkal. Amidst the fall of wickets at the other end triggered largely by irresistible offie Ryan Ninan (4-19) — who was adjudged man of the match — there was only one constant – Sunil Kumar Jain (57 n.o, 57b, 3x4).

The southpaw produced an innings of rare maturity to hold his end, but there was hardly any support for him. That the 30-run alliance for the tenth-wicket between Jain and Arjun Shetty was the best in Provident innings revealed a sorry tale. Jain was hardly eye-popping during his stay, hitting just three boundaries. If some of his other team-mates had shown the wisdom to follow his path, Provident would have been defending a much better total.

There was no need for a hurried approach while chasing and Gladiators accomplished their task in a professional manner. The dismissals of Sanjay Kumar and Ganesh Satish, an unfortunate hit-wicket against MR Darshan, reduced Gladiators to 24 for two, but the 84-run partnership between Kunal Kapoor (62 n.o, 51b, 5x4, 2x6) and Raju Bhatkal eased their worries. Kunal dominated the third-wicket stand completely after an unsure start to his innings, finally bringing the winning runs with a powerfully struck six off NC Aiyappa.

Score Board

PROVIDENT BANGALORE: MK Manjunath c Raju Bhatkal b Gowtham 10; Sarfraz Ashraf c KC Avinash b Mithun 0; Amit Verma c Ryan b Raju Bhatkal 11; B Akhil c Raju Bhatkal b Mithun 1; Sunil Kumar Jain (not out) 57; Rahul Bhatkal c&b Ryan 7; Aniruddha Joshi c Appanna b Ryan 4; Sunil Kumar DH b Ryan 0; NC Aiyappa b Ryan 6; MR Darshan b Gowtham 0; Arjun Shetty (not out) 2; Extras (B-1, LB-2, NB-4, W-3) 10; Total (for 9 wkts, 20 overs) 108

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-20, 3-23, 4-25, 5-40, 6-50, 7-50, 8-74, 9-77.

Bowling: A Mithun 4-0-11-2, Raju Bhatkal 3-0-24-1, K Gowtham 4-0-12-2, SL Akshay 2-0-19-0, Ryan Ninan 4-0-19-4, KP Appanna 3-0-20-0.

MALNAD GLADIATORS: Ganesh Satish (hit-wicket/Darshan) 10; Sanjay Kumar S c Sunil b Aiyappa 8; Kunal Kapoor (not out) 62 (51b, 5x4, 2x6); Raju Bhatkal (not out) 24 (28b, 1x6); Extras (LB-3, W-2) 5; Total (for 2 wkts, 17.2 overs) 109.

Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-24.

Bowling: NC Aiyappa 2.2-1-15-1, Sunil Kumar DH 3-0-21-0, Sarfraz Ashraf 3-0-18-0, MR Darshan 4-0-14-1, Arjun Shetty 1-0-9-0, B Akhil 3-0-25-0, Amit Verma 1-0-4-0.

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