Panthers tame Bulls in style

Ponnappa slams half-century as Belagavi maintain unbeaten run

Panthers tame Bulls in style

In a battle of hitherto unbeaten teams, last year’s beaten finalists rode on efficiency in the field and controlled aggression with the bat to eke out a comfortable seven-wicket win over Bijapur Bulls, made to look nothing like the side that had come into this game with two victories from as many matches.

The Bulls’ aspirations had taken a significant blow even before a ball had been bowled when Sunday’s hero Stuart Binny was ruled out with an injury. That, however, was no excuse for the ordinary fare they dished out, their diffidence with the bat compounded by lackadaisical, indeed unforgivably lax, running between the wickets that cost them two key wickets – skipper Sudhindra Shinde and Jaya Prakash Shetty -- in the space of five deliveries.

In the event, Shinde’s decision to bat first appeared hardly justified as the Bulls limped to 131 for seven, pegged down by the combined efficacy of a bowling unit that stuck to its disciplines and shared the wickets.  

Skipper J Arun Kumar (49, 47b, 4x4, 3x6) and Shyam Ponnappa (60, 50b, 8x4, 2x6) then orchestrated the first century opening stand of the tournament to make light work of an admittedly modest run-chase, the Panthers cruising to 132 for three with five deliveries in the bank.

Ponnappa was in his elements from the off while Arun initially struggled for timing. The two openers concentrated more on the boundaries than through sprightly running, the floodgates truly opening when man of the match Ponnappa smashed medium-pacer U Nizamuddin, Binny’s replacement, for five consecutive boundaries in the sixth over.

From thereon, it was all one-way traffic, Ponnappa continuing to lash out – his fifty had eight fours and two sixes! – and Arun gradually came into his own, taking the aerial route repeatedly with no little success.

Arun departed after a stand of 112 (93b) and the Panthers lost two further wickets, but that was no more than a minor hiccup.  The Bulls’ innings had been littered with hiccups following the first-over fall of Gaurav Dhiman, whose off-stump was knocked out by S Dhananjaya.

They found no rhythm whatsoever, partnerships conspicuous by their absence until Devraj Patil and Nithin Mulki provided some impetus whilst putting on 43 (32b). Once this pair was separated, there was little else of note as the Panthers ensured there was no raging of the Bulls twice in two days.

Score Board

BIJAPUR BULLS: Gaurav Dhiman b Dhananjaya 0, Mithun Beerala b Balachandra 11, Jaya Prakash Shetty (run out) 21, Sudhindra Shinde (run out) 12, Devraj Patil c Ponnappa b Patil 22, Nithin Mulki b Balachandra 28, Praveen Kumar c Ponnappa b More 8, U Nizamuddin (not out) 7, DV Anish (not out) 9. Extras (B-4, LB-2, W-5, NB-2) 13. Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs) 131.

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Dhiman), 2-26 (Beerala), 3-49 (Shinde), 4-50 (Shetty), 5-93 (Patil), 6-109 (Praveen), 7-116 (Mulki).

Bowling: S Dhananjaya 4-0-23-1 (w-4, nb-1), Ronit More 4-0-26-1 (w-1, nb-1), Naveen Balachandra 4-0-28-2, Zeeshan Ali Sayyed 4-0-25-0, Ramling Patil 4-0-23-1.

BELAGAVI PANTHERS: J Arun Kumar c Shetty b Mulki 40, Shyam Ponnappa c Shinde b Rajashekar 60, Suraj Sampath c Patil b Mulki 0, S Vinodh (not out) 5, Vinayak Uthappa (not out) 9. Extras (LB-1, W-8) 9. Total (for 3 wkts, 19.1 overs) 132.

Fall of wickets: 1-112 (Arun), 2-112 (Sampath), 3-116 (Ponnappa). 

Bowling: Jaya Prakash Shetty 4-0-21-0 (w-2), Nithin Mulki 4-0-27-2 (w-4), DV Anish 4-0-22-0, U Nizamuddin 1-0-20-0, Syed Nooruddin 3-0-22-0 (w-1), B Rajashekar 3.1-0-19-1 (w-1).

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