Bijapur emerge champions

Triumphant: Bijapur Bulls celebrate with the KPL trophy at SDNRW stadium in Mysuru on Thursday. DH PHOTO/ SAVITHA B R

Bijapur Bulls produced a collective effort to clinch their second Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League title here on Thursday.

Boosted by a three-wicket haul from K P Appanna (3/16), Bijapur thumped Bengaluru Blasters by seven wickets in the final here at the SDNRW stadium to become the first team to win a KPL title twice.

Skipper Bharath Chipli’s brave decision at the toss really paid off as the Blasters, asked to bat first, came up with a terrible performance to be bowled out for a poor 101.

Naveen M G, with 43, guided the Bulls to victory.

As bad as the Blasters batting was, Appanna’s bowling was exemplary. He had got two crucial wickets in the semifinal, ending with two for 28 against Hubli Tigers, but on Thursday night, he went one better with three for 16 from his four overs.

With the Blasters on 37/2, Appanna struck straightaway, having opener KB Pawan caught at deep mid-wicket. The wily Appanna kept the batsmen guessing all the time.

As usual he got good support from fellow spinners KC Cariappa and Suneel Raju, the latter having two catches dropped off his bowling. The death bowling too was handled competently by medium pacer Naveen (4-0-19-2) and there was just no getting away for the Blasters.

Of the top five batsmen in the Bengaluru Blasters line-up, only opener KB Pawan (22, 25b, 1x4, 1x6) got into double figures and he was actually dropped twice before he made 10. Dropped first ball of the final, Naveen putting down a sitter at mid-wicket off pacer Bhavesh Gulecha, Pawan was again let off on nine when KC Cariappa failed to grasp the chance at point off offie Suneel’s first delivery in the fifth over. Pawan was third time unlucky as Bijapur’s star left-arm spinner KP Appanna got him caught at deep mid-wicket off a mistimed pull. The biggest blow was the loss of their skipper Robin Uthappa, the one with the experience and skill to handle both the pressure of a big final as also the vagaries of a wearing surface. Medium pace-bowling all-rounder Naveen made up for dropping Pawan with his first ball, when he had Uthappa chasing a wide ball that moved away a shade and nicking to wicketkeeper.

Brief scores: Bengaluru Blasters: 101 all out in 20 overs (KB Pawan 22; Bhavesh Gulecha 2-14, MG Naveen 2-19, KP Appanna 3-16) lt to Bijapur Bulls: 106/3 in 13.5 overs (Naveen MG 43).

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Bijapur emerge champions

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