What a Game! An absolute thrill-a-minute ride, as the match went down to the very last ball, but Namma Warriors showed supreme composure to hang on to a much-needed 1 run win here at Mysore.
The reigning champions Belagavi Panthers, led by Stuart Binny won the toss and asked the Warriors to bat first, this being the first time they did so in the Karbonn KPL 2018 season. What they needed was a good and solid start from their top order, and in order to do so, out walked Arjun Hoysala and Raajoo Bhatkal, Namma Warriors’ trusted openers.
Both batsmen put on another good opening partnership worth 67 runs in 9.5 overs before Arjun Hoysala was dismissed. Following him was veteran Amit Verma, who showed supreme composure as he remained not out on 43 off 22 balls with 3 boundaries and 3 sixes. Raajoo Bhatkal, who now holds theOrange Cap was soon caught while trying to up the ante.
Out came Shoaib Manager, who seems to be going from strength to strength in this edition of the Karnatka Premier League. He came out with singular focus, looking only to score quick and put runs on the board for his team. He scored 56 off just 24 balls and scored the fastest 50 of the KPL season this year en route. He reached the landmark in just 21 balls. He managed 7 fours and 3 sixes in his innings, finishing with a massive strike rate of 233.33.
Captain Jagadeesha Suchith and NP Bhareth finished proceedings for the Warriors, making sure that the team finished just above the 200 mark. They ended with the score at 201for the loss of just 4 wickets in their 20 overs.
The Belagavi Panthers openers Dikshanshu Negi and Stallin Hoover walked out knowing that a strong start was crucial for their team to take this game into the final stages at the very least. Both batsmen obliged, putting up a 74-run partnership in just around 8 overs. Stallin and HS Sharath soon fell within barely any time of each other, to Amit Verma and NP Bhareth, and captain Stuart Binny walked out.
Stuart Binny was soon dismissed by captain Suchith, while keeper Rakshit was run out after some smart fielding. Negi continued his brave innings, before falling to Amit Verma for a well-made 60 off 33 balls.
Avinash D and M Nidhish came together at the crease, when the target was starting to look unattainable. Nidhish was belligerent, scoring 44 and remaining not out at the end. Avinash made 17, while youngster Akshay Ballal came in and looked to exploit his long handle. He bludgeoned 21 off just 9 balls, taking the Panthers ever closer to their target.
The 19th over began with the Panthers needing 20 runs off the next 12 balls. Vyshak Vijaykumar, who is now the highest wicket-taker in KPL history was absolutely superb. He barely gave anything away, even defending a free-hit with a superbly placed Yorker. He gave away only 5 runs and picked up 2 wickets in the penultimate over of the match. He is now the leading wicket taker in KPL 2018 with 11 wickets, 4 more than his closest competitor.
The ball was handed to Prateek Jain to finish off proceedings, with the Panthers needing 15 to win from 6 balls. Rookie Shubhang Hegde flexed his muscles and flicked the first ball for 6, but then Prateek came back strongly. There was a comedy of errors towards the end, with some miscommunication meaning that the ball was flying around to the wrong end a couple of times. However, it all ended well for the Warriors, as they triumphed by just 1 run off the very last ball.
Captain J Suchith was pleased, but first thanked the Mysuru fans for their support, saying “I would like to thank the fans of Mysuru. They were right behind us all the way. It feels good to win by such a close margin. We have been batting well throughout the tournament. We planned on getting 160 but the wicket got better and better as the match progressed. Our bowlers bowled really well.”
The next match will be against Bijapur Bulls on the 1st of September.