Panthers prevail over Brigadiers in thrilling finish

There were no indications of the drama to follow when the Panthers innings hardly made progress for the first half, wickets falling in a heap and the Brigadiers, playing their first game, seemingly totally on top.

A wonderful fightback spearheaded by Stalin Hoover gave the Panthers’ versatile spin attack something to bowl with as last year’s beaten finalists eventually managed 131for eight, amassing 85 off the last ten overs as Hoover, S Dhananjaya and Naveen Balachandra came to the party.

The Brigadiers moved gradually into a position from where they could launch an onslaught by reaching 43 for one in the seventh over, but off-spinner Zeeshan Ali Sayyed (3/20), leggie Ramling Patil (1/21) and left-arm spinner Balachandra (4/20), the man of the match, tied them up in the middle stages.

Single-handedly, M Vinod (29, 15b, 1x4, 3x6) threatened to take the game away from the Panthers with a blistering assault on the rapid Ronit More and Dhananjaya, but Brigadiers found the task of scoring 12 off the last over just beyond them as they settled for 130 for eight, and a heart-breaking one-run defeat as Panthers maintained their perfect start to KPL II.

Until Hoover arrived in a blaze of strokes during a 21-ball 33 (3x4, 2x6), Panthers were rapidly coming unstuck but the powerful right-hander instilled intent with his positive mien. Balachandra (22, 18b, 1x4, 1x6) and Dhananjaya (28 n.o., 16b, 1x4, 2x6) applied the finishing touches with 43 off 28 deliveries to set the stage for the spinners to take over.

Syed Ibrez started the chase with three booming boundaries, but Balachandra broke through, Panthers were all over their opponents like a bad rash. At 89 for seven, with 42 needed off 25, it appeared all over before Vinod cut loose, feeding off length bowling from More and Dhananjaya to give his team some hope. The golden arm of Balachandra then struck, and decisively so!

SCORE BOARD

BELAGAVI PANTHERS: J Arun Kumar c Rahul b Faroqui 10, Shyam Ponnappa b Sagar 5, Suraj Sampath (run out) 12, S Vinodh c Rahul b Narayanan 1, Vinayak Uthappa c Faroqui b Vinod 13, Stalin Hoover c Rahul b Faroqui 33, Zeeshan Ali Sayyed lbw Vinod 0, Naveen Balachandra (run out) 22, S Dhananjaya (not out) 28. Extras (LB-3, W-4) 7. Total (for 8 wkts, 20 overs) 131.
Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Ponnappa), 2-18 (Arun), 3-25 (Vinodh), 4-34 (Sampath), 5-54 (Uthappa), 6-55 (Sayyed), 7-88 (Hoover), 8-131 (Balachandra).
Bowling: Mansur Ali Khan 4-1-20-0, Dilip Sagar 4-0-26-1 (w-3), Zahour Faroqui 3-0-19-2, Vinu Prasad Narayanan 4-0-36-1, M Vinod 4-0-19-2 (w-1), Deepak Chougule 1-0-8-0.
BANGALORE BRIGADIERS: Syed Ibrez c Patil b Balachandra 18, KL Rahul c & b Sayyed 10, Nishanth Singh Shekhawat c Sampath b Balachandra 19, Deepak Chougulec Vinodh b Sayyed 1, Steve Lazarus c & b Sayyed 5, Nikhil Kashyap b Patil 13, M Vinod c Uthappa b Balachandra 29, Vinu Prasad Narayanan lbw Balachandra 4, Dilip Sagar (not out) 13, Mansur Ali Khan (not out) 3. Extras (B-1, LB-5, W-9) 15. Total (for 8 wkts, 20 overs) 130.
Fall of wickets: 1-26 (Ibrez), 2-43 (Rahul), 3-49 (Chougule), 4-57 (Lazarus), 5-69 (Shekhawat), 6-76 (Kashyap), 7-89 (Narayanan), 8-114 (Vinod).
Bowling: S Dhananjaya 4-0-33-0 (w-5), Ronit More 4-0-30-0 (w-1), N Balachandra 4-0-20-4 (w-1), Ramling P 4-0-21-1 (w-2), Zeeshan Ali 4-0-20-3.

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