Gladiators pin Bulls down

Having begun their campaign with a eight-wicket loss to Belagavi Panthers in the opening match last Thursday, the Gladiators’ stirring revival has put them on top of the table alongside the Panthers following a comfortable five-wicket win over Bijapur Bulls.

Put in, the Bulls’ innings didn’t come to life until the last five overs which yielded a massive 51 runs, but too much damage had been done at the top for them to post a sizeable total.

In the end, 130 for eight was what they managed, and while it did give them a fighting chance, the Gladiators paced their chase to a nicety. Wicketkeeper-batsman KC Avinash, batting with a runner toward the end, held the innings together with an unbeaten 45 (46b, 5x4), and there were enough fireworks provided by Kunal Kapoor, Rajoo Bhatkal, Nishanth Hegde and K Gowtham as the Gladiators reached 134 for five with four deliveries to spare.

Man of the match Avinash, dropped at point by DV Anish when 22, began pulling his way to a succession of boundaries before embracing the anchoring role and letting the others go on the rampage. Kapoor caught the eye during his brief stay with his timing and the time he had to play his strokes, while Bhatkal, Hegde and finally Gowtham, who had a fine all-round day, applied the finishing touches as the Bulls’ outcricket went to pieces.

Playing their third game in as many days, the Bulls were completely pegged back at the start, the first five overs yielding just 11 before Mithun Beerala’s tortured stay (1 off 14 deliveries) was cut short by Bhatkal.

Only Devraj Patil (47, 40b, 5x4, 1x6) provided any impetus up front, making the most of being dropped thrice as off-spinner Gowtham (3/25) weaved a tight web alongside left-arm spinner SK Moinuddin (4-1-15-1).

The Bulls left their charge too late, allowing for a clinical finish by the Gladiators.

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