Provident stay in semifinal race

Holders outwit Malnad Gladiators by five wickets to record third victory

Provident stay in semifinal race

Battling to stay in the race for a last-four spot, Provident, after allowing Maharaajas to stack up a challenging 130 for six in 17 overs in a rain-curtailed match, replied with 134 for five in 16.3 overs. The statistics, however, hide the degree of comfort with which Provident achieved the victory which took them to six points from six matches. The Bangalore side, despite losing wickets in a heap after a sound start, always looked the favourite to win the contest. 

Needing just under eight an over to scale down the target, Thilak Naidu (22, 11b, 2x4, 1x6) and MK Manjunath (23, 22b, 1x4, 2x6) began the proceedings on a rousing note, Naidu depositing Chetan William to the long-on stands off the first ball he faced. That was just the kind of start Provident needed to overhaul the competitive total. It was a double whammy for Maharaajas as Manjunath too chanced his arm, dispatching Tarun Muthanna and left-arm spinner Abrar Kazi over the ropes.

The duo had raised 49 in just 29 balls when Naidu stepped out to Kazi and missed the line, putting stumper Nitin Bhille in business.

Soon after, Manjunath and Sunil Kumar Jain departed in quick succession as Provident slipped to 56 for three and Maharaajas briefly came back into the game.

Akhil (23, 24b, 3x4), joining the forces with man of the match Amit Verma (30, 21b, 2x4, 1x6), added 46 runs for the fourth wicket in 40 balls to turn the tide. That left-arm spinner C Raghavendra (2-0-5-0) wasn’t given more than two overs was also perplexing.  
Opting to bowl first, Provident began on a positive note plucking out opener KB Pawan in the second over. Sudhir Rao, joined by Bhille (39, 35b, 4x4, 1x6), limped along as Maharaajas could manage only 55 from 10 overs. Bhille, dropped by Arjun Shetty early in his innings on the fence resulting in a six, cut loose towards the closing stages, providing the much-needed pace to the innings.

Manjunath SP (17 off 12) and William (12 off six) then heaped more misery, notching up a whopping 75 runs from the last seven overs. Provident were also handicapped to an extent with NC Aiyappa walking out after pulling his hamstring after bowling two tight overs. 

SCOREBOARD
MYSORE MAHARAAJAS: KB Pawan c Manjunath b Jagan 1, Sudhir Rao (run out) 41, Nitin Bhille st Naidu b Shetty 39, Abrar Kazi (run out) 5, Shoaib Manager c Joshi b Shetty 8, SP Manjunath c Verma b Jagan 17, Chetan William (not out) 12. Extras (LB-2, W-5) 7. Total (for 6 wkts, 17 overs) 130.

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Pawan), 2-54 (Sudhir), 3-80 (Kazi), 4-93 (Manager), 5-107 (Bhille), 6-130 (Manjunath). 

Bowling: NC Aiyappa 2-0-7-0, Abhishek Jagan 4-0-41-2 (w-4), Aniruddha Joshi 3-0-23-0, B Akhil 3-0-20-0, Anand Katti 3-0-26-0, Arjun Shetty 2-0-11-2 (w-1).

PROVIDENT BANGALORE: MK Manjunath c William b Raghu 23, Thilak Naidu st Bhille b Kazi 22, Amit Verma c Pawan b Muthanna 30, Sunil Kumar Jain b William 1, B Akhil c Kazi b William 23, Aniruddha Joshi (not out) 14, Rahul Bhatkal (not out) 15. Extras (LB-1, W-5) 6. Total (for 5 wkts, 16.3 overs) 134.

Fall of wickets: 1-49 (Naidu), 2-55 (Manjunath), 3-56 (Jain), 4-102 (Akhil), 5-106 (Verma).
Bowling: Chetan William 4-0-28-2, Aditya Sagar 3.3-0-28-0, C Raghavendra 2-0-5-0, Tarun Muthanna 3-0-29-1 (w-1), Abrar Kazi 2-0-24-1 (w-4), C Raghu 2-0-19-1.     

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