Anchored by solid half-centuries from skipper Kunal Kapoor and Dikshanshu Negi, local favourites Hubli Tigers defeated Mangalore United by five wickets to notch up their fourth win of the Karnataka Premier League here at the Rajnagar Stadium on Sunday.
Set a challenging target of 174, the Tigers clinched the game in their favour with two balls to spare, in an edge-of-the seat contest. The Tigers lie second on the table with eight points from five games. United, with three loses and one win, are seventh with three points from six games.
Put into bat, United managed to post a formidable total, thanks to a fine 35-ball 45 by opener M Vishwanathan. The right-hander was involved in two fruitful partnerships –– first a 54-run stand with captain Karun Nair (24) and then an alliance of 48 runs with Nidish M –– to boost United’s total.
Stalin Hoover returned with figures of three for 15 to be the most successful bowler for Hubli.
In response, the Tigers lost the wicket of Mohammed Taha (9) early. However, the hosts ensured that there were no further blips in their run chase, with captain Kapoor (65, 46b, 7x4, 1x6) and Manjesh Reddy (30) going along nicely in the middle.
The two did well to milk singles and collect the odd boundary in their second wicket partnership of 69 runs.
Reddy was castled by a beauty from Mitrakanth Yadav. This brought Negi (53, 33b, 3x4, 2x6) to the middle, and he, along with Kapoor, took Tigers’ closer to the target through their 52-run stand. Kapoor, trying to hoist Yadav, was caught by Nair at mid-on.
After the dismissal of Kapoor, the Tigers still needed 43 runs from 36 balls and they nearly messed up their chase with Chethan Williams and Hoover getting out in quick succession. They stared at a possible defeat before K N Bharath and Negi stayed composed to take their team home. In fact, it was the 17th over of the Tigers’ innings from Nair that cost United the match. United had managed to get back in the game and seemed to have applied the brakes on an otherwise free scoring Negi and Bharath.
The hosts however blasted 17 runs off Nair and that proved to be the turning point in the game.
Negi slammed a six and four of the United skipper while Bharath struck a six to shift the momentum back to the Tigers. Thereafter, there was no looking back for the hosts and Negi finished the contest off in style, scoring the winning runs with a four in the final over.
In the second match of the day, it was so near yet so far for cine actor Sudeep’s Rockstars. Searching for an elusive victory in the tournament, Rockstars nearly upstaged Namma Shivamogga before going down by 17 runs.
Put into bat, Shivamogga amassed a strong total of 193 for four, with opener Nischal D making a fine 65 (46b, 6x4, 1x6) and skipper Stuart Binny slamming a quickfire unbeaten 50 (20b, 3x4, 4x6).
Rockstars’ chase was powered by middle-order batsman Madan Mohan, who slammed a pulsating knock of 57 off 40 balls, studded with six fours and two sixes. Mohan’s 50-run partnership off 32 balls for the fourth wicket with Ritesh Bhatkal had the crowd virtually on their feet. Rockstars though couldn’t meet the climbing run-rate and eventually finished on 176 for six.
Brief scores: Mangalore United: 173/7 in 20 overs (M Vishwanathan 45, Nidhish 41; Stallin Hoover 3-15, Safaraz Ashraf 2-32) lt to Hubli Tigers: 176/5 in 19.4 overs (Kunal Kapoor 65, Dikshanshu Negi 53 n.o.; Mitakanth Yadav 3-26).
Namma Shivamoga: 193/4 in 20 overs (D Nischal 65, Stuart Binny 50 n.o., Sharath Srinivas 28, Shreyas Gopal 27) bt Rockstars: 176/6 in 20 overs (Madan Mohan 57, BR Sharath 40, Ritesh Bhatkal 40; Shreyas Gopal 2-39).