Panthers storm into finals
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Panthers storm into finals

Hubballi: Hat-tricks from Anand Doddamani and D. Avinash were just what the big occasion of a semi-final needed resulting in Belagavi Panthers 14-run victory at the KSCA Rajnagar Stadium in Hubballi to seal their place in the final of Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League 2017, powered by Cycle Pure Agarbathies, here yesterday. Doddamani ended with figures of 3 for 18, while Avinash registered a brilliant 4 for 8.

Earlier, half-centuries from Stalin Hoover (67 off 42) and K.N. Bharath (62 off 54) had helped Belagavi post a target of 153 for Hubli Tigers, in tricky conditions for bowlers. There was a constant light drizzle, and both sides found it hard to grip the ball, leading to several loose deliveries. However, Belagavi coped better. A rain-interruption in the 13th over made matters decidedly better for Hubli, they were 79 for 4 going into the break, but after their target was revised to 113 off 15 overs, they needed just 34 off 16 balls on resumption.

It was at that pivotal juncture that Doddamani bagged a hat-trick with Hubli eventually bundled out for 98 in 14.5 overs. Belagavi will meet the winners of the second semi-final, between Namma Shivamogga and Bijapur Bulls to be played tomorrow (Sept. 22).

The early charge in Hubli’s chase was provided by Mayank Agarwal, the explosive batsman picking on Stuart Binny’s opening over with two fours and a six. The approach was a risky one, and he was soon trapped in front by Avinash. Hubli faltered after his dismissal. Abhishek Reddy was lucky to be dropped twice while K.V. Siddharth (1) was caught at slips off S. Arvind.

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It was left to R. Vinay Kumar, the captain, to guide the chase. He added a 34-run stand with Reddy, largely through singles along with the odd boundary, it became increasingly evident that the stand was crucial to Hubli’s chances. However, the Belagavi spinners – Shubang Hegde and Doddamani – performed particularly impressively. Hegde drew Reddy (23) forward and beat with him turn, leaving him open for an easy stumping. Three overs later, in the 13th over, Doddamani had Praveen Dubey trapped in front. Hubli were reduced to 79 for 4 when rain forced another interruption.

That should have worked in Hubli’s favour. However, Doddamani picked up from where left off, trapping Rohith Gowda plumb in front and then going through Kranthi Kumar in the very next delivery to have him bowled. It was a most remarkable hat-trick in a pressure situation, and Hubli had no answer.

Their batsmen tried the big hits, but that played into Avinash’s hands. He got his own hat-trick, running through the tail as all of Vinay (41), Abhishek Sakuja (1) and Aman Khan (0) holed out. Earlier, Hoover and Bharath put on a 94-run partnership for the opening wicket, to give Belagavi a solid foundation. His knock was brought to an end by Vinay in the 11th over, the Karnataka captain inducing a thick edge. But Bharath then took charge, putting away boundaries every other over including a six off Harish to bring up his fifty off 43 balls.

He would have hoped for more, but a flurry of wickets in the death meant Belagavi didn’t post as big a total as they could have. Binny (13) was trapped in front attempting a reverse sweep, before both Bharath (62 off 54) and Kishore Kamat (4) were run-out. The last five overs yielded just 33 runs for Belagavi, with five wickets falling in quick succession. Brief Scores: Belagavi Panthers 152 for 6 in 20 overs (Stalin Hoover 67, K.N. Bharath 62; Kranthi Kumar 2-24) beat Hubli Tigers 98 in 14.5 overs (R. Vinay Kumar 41, Abhishek Reddy 23; D Avinash 4-8, Anand Doddamani 3-18) by 14 runs on the VJD-Method.

September 21, 2017

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