KPL 2017, Match 1 Review: Siddharth scripts a win in the opener for Hubli Tigers

KPL 2017, Match 1 Review: Siddharth scripts a win in the opener for Hubli Tigers

Belagavi Panthers put in a commendable fight, but the Tigers seal a comfortable six-wicket win in the opening clash of tournament’s sixth edition.

Krishnamurthy Siddharth
Krishnamurthy Siddharth was awarded the player of the match. (Photo Source: KPL)

Bengaluru, 1 September 2017: The opening ceremony of the Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League 2017, powered by Cycle Pure Agarbathies, was a resounding success and the cricket that followed matched it to the hilt. Hubli Tigers and Belagavi Panthers put on a fine show at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday (1 September), taking the sixth edition of the tournament off to a flier.

In the end, Hubli took home all the points thanks to KV Siddharth’s brilliant 51-ball unbeaten 61. Hubli opted to bowl, and led by captain R Vinay Kumar from the front, made early inroads into the significant Belagavi batting line-up. Vinay, Abhishek Sakuja, the left-arm spinner, and Ritesh Bhatkal all took two wickets apiece as Belagavi were pushed back. However, Sunil Kumar Jain, a muscular left-hand batsman, walked in at No. 6 and smashed an unbeaten 34-ball 39 to help Belagavi post a tricky target of 128.

And tricky it proved. Hubli lost Anurag Bajpai and Abhishek Reddy in the first two overs, Stuart Binny and S Arvind moving the ball cannily to effect both dismissals. It meant the dangerous Mayank Agarwal, usually, an irresistible force was forced to change strategy. He decided to pace the innings along with Siddharth, and the two kept the scoreboard moving. They had added a steady 31 for the third wicket when Belagavi, just refusing to let go, struck again. K Gowtham showed just why he became one of the most expensive players in the tournament after deceiving Mayank with his off-spin.

Unfortunately for Belagavi, they didn’t have much cheer thereafter. Siddharth took charge after captain Vinay arrived for company, and after chugging along at a run-a-ball, they applied the squeeze thereafter. Vinay found the fence twice off Shubang Hegde in the 13th over. Then Siddharth, who had displayed plenty of power throughout the evening, stepped forward and clobbered Anand Doddamani over long-on for his second six.

Binny did manage to send back Vinay, with the Hubli captain missing a flick across the line. But at 99 for 4, Hubli knew they needed only to stay calm and close out the victory. And in Siddarth, they had an extremely composed 24-year-old. Praveen Dubey (19 off 12) played his part as well, and the two guided Hubli to their first win of KPL 2017.

Earlier, Vinay led his pack of Tigers with typical efficiency. They were at Belagavi right from the start, with Vinay trapping BR Sharath plumb in front in the first over with one that nipped in just a bit. Belagavi seemed to have shaken off that setback when Gowtham lifted David Mathias over long-off stylishly. Mathias got his revenge when he sharply and deceptively nipped in his gentle medium pace, trapping Gowtham plumb.

The wickets kept coming, and Hubli never allowed Belagavi to settle. Mir Kaunain Abbas fell to Abhishek Sakuja for a 13-ball 15, KN Bharath walked back after a run-a-ball 20 and the important Binny (17 off 25) was stopped in his tracks after rebuilding the innings. At 79 for 5, it was a precarious stage for Belagavi, but it was then that Sunil Kumar took charge.

Using his muscular frame and powerful arms to good effect, Sunil Kumar accelerated the scoring. He swivelled and heaved, and while he didn’t make perfect connection with all attempts, he did have enough power to find the fence even with minimal contact. The wickets kept coming at the other end as the death overs approached and Belagavi looked for the big hits, but unperturbed, Sunil kept the charge going, finishing the innings with a four down the ground.

Brief scores:

Belagavi Panthers: 127 for 8 in 20 overs (KN Bharath 20, Sunil Kumar Jain 39; R Vinay Kumar 2-19, Abhishek Sakuja 2-11, Ritesh Bhatkal 2-12) lost to Hubli Tigers: 128 for 4 in 17.5 overs (K Siddharth 61*, R Vinay Kumar 22; Stuart Binny 2-25) by six wickets.

Man of the Match: KV Siddharth