Provident crowned champions

Bangalore Rural side down Belagavi Panthers by five wickets in the final

Provident crowned champions

Got You!: Bangalore Provident’s NC Aiyappa (fourth from left) celebrates J Arun Kumar’s dismissal. DH photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

Provident Bangalore mastered that art, often called the big match temperament, to clinch the inaugural Mantri Karnataka Premier League at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here on Wednesday.

Their five-wicket victory over Belagavi Panthers carried the quintessence of their approach all along the tournament – professional and unflappable. The Panthers have one of the most explosive batting line-ups in the KPL, and restricting them to as small a total as 122 for seven told a lot about the confidence Provident carried into the summit clash. Sometimes, chasing such low totals can be a tricky task, but Provident displayed their customary coolness here as well, hunting down the target without even a hint of panic. The contest did not produce the thrills that the 15,000-strong crowd might have expected as it turned out to be a battle of attrition.

There was a touch of calmness even when VS Thilak Naidu (33, 24b, 6x4) and MK Manjunath dismantled the Panthers attack. Delicate steers and well-timed square cuts supplanted risky shots. Their 48-run opening wicket alliance, snapped when Naidu edged leggie Ramling Patil to Vinayak Uthappa behind the stumps, provided Provident with a perfect launching pad.

Panthers’ bowlers, especially their spinners and the ever resilient pacer R Vinay Kumar, tried their best to choke the subsequent batsmen. They succeeded in their venture to a certain extent on a sluggish pitch, but in the end the total proved too small to defend as Aniruddha Joshi fetched the winning runs with a boundary off Zeeshan Sayed.

Earlier, skipper/coach J Arun Kumar and Vinay Kumar, promoted as opener, were expected to provide one of those flashy starts after Panthers stuck to their policy of batting first. But the expectations were never met as they struggled against the Provident bowlers.

Arun, seemingly disturbed by constant movement near the sight screen, soon played a horrendous cross-bat swipe and Aiyappa’s delivery re-arranged his furniture. In walked Manish Pandey carrying loads of responsibilities on his shoulder, but the youngster failed this time.

Manjunath gobbled up Pandey’s ugly hoick off left-arm spinner Anand Katti at mid-on, and with that dismissal Panthers’ hopes of reaching a total beyond the grasps of Provident too evaporated.

The presence of Vinay might have prompted Panthers to think of crossing the 150-run mark at least, but those ambitions too were soon wiped out when Amit Verma jettisoned Vinay. At 4 for 65 into the 13th over, Panthers were so close to a total collapse, but they managed to reach a reasonable score courtesy Uthappa (45, 30b, 2x4, 2x6). But it proved too inadequate to thwart Provident’s march to the title.

Score Board
BELAGAVI PANTHERS: J Arun Kumar b Aiyappa 6, R Vinay Kumar c Manjunath b Amit 34, Manish Pandey c Manjunath b Katti 4, Shyam Ponnappa b Amit 9, Vinayak Uthappa c Katti b Akhil 45, Suraj Sampath c Amit b Aiyappa 14, Ramling Patil c Aiyappa b Katti 2, P Yogesh (not out) 4, Z Syed (not out) 1. Extras (LB-1, W-2) 3. Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs) 122.
Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-32, 3-46, 4-64, 5-95, 6-105, 7-118.
Bowling: NC Aiyappa 4-0-27-2, DH Sunil Kumar 2-0-15-0, Anand Katti 4-0-26-2, Syed Ashraf 4-0-23-0, Amit Verma 4-1-12-2, B Akhil 2-0-18-1.

PROVIDENT BANGALORE:  MK Manjunath St Uthappa b Zeeshan 23, VS Thilak Naidu c Uthappa b Patil 33, Amit Verma (run out) 11, Sunil Kumar Jain (not out) 28, B Akhil b R Vinay 12, Rahul Bhatkal b R Vinay 1, Aniruddha Joshi (not out) 8. Extras (B-8, LB-1) 9. Total (for 5 wkts, 19.2 overs) 125.
Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-66, 3-78, 4-101, 5-115.
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 4-0-14-2, David Johnson 2-0-16-0, R Madhusudan 2-0-17-0, Ramling Patil 4-0-23-1, Zeeshan Syed 3.2-0-23-1, Shyam Ponnappa 1-0-7-0, P Yogesh 3-0-16-0.

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