KPL-7: Hubli Tigers hold nerve to prevail in thriller

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Mohd. Taha. PC: KPL

Mysuru, August 26: In a pulsating Karnataka Premier League clash that went down to the wire, Hubli Tigers prevailed by a mere three runs against Mysuru Warriors at the SDNR Wadiyar Stadium here on Sunday.

Looking down and out when they lost a flurry of wickets after a good start, Mysuru were given real hope by a brilliant late flourish from Shoaib Manager (58, 31b, 4×4, 4×6). Eventually though it was Hubli who held their nerve to come out deserving victors in the out-and-out thriller.

Hubli Tigers skipper R Vinay Kumar had bucked the trend of captains choosing to bowl on winning the toss and the move ultimately paid off. Led by a blistering start from opener Mohd Taha (68, 47b, 14×4) and some big-hitting towards the very end by Vinay (30 not out, 17b, 3×4, 1×6) himself, Hubli posted a stiff 182 for 6 from their 20 overs.

Set an asking rate of 9.15 in their second encounter, Mysuru too began well and raced to 63 for 1 in the powerplay thanks to opener Arjun Hoysala (31, 18b, 2×4, 3×6) but later suffered a mini collapse against the many spinners that Vinay pressed into service. But Manager, coming in at number 4, had different ideas and he kept the momentum going with some fine shots.

With 23 needed off the last two overs, Manager swung pacer MB Darshan for two successive sixes in the 19th over but then fell to a catch at the point boundary. It was a superb counter-attacking innings but one that ultimately didn’t help Mysuru cross the line as Kranti Kumar, coming back after an injury, bowled a fine final over and conceded only nine when 13 were required for the win.

Earlier, hard-hitting Hubli opener Taha, Man of the Match, was helped along by the waywardness of both Prateek Jain and Vyshak Vijakumar. Both kept bowling down the leg only for Taha to keep playing the glance. To the spinners the preferred shot was the slog sweep. Perhaps it was the pressure of bowling in front of their home supporters, a few thousand of whom had gathered on the weekly holiday.

It was only after Taha got out that the Mysuru bowlers regained some sort of control only to lose it again in the end when Vinay got into the act and helped turn a decent total into a defendable one for Hubli.

Brief scores: Hubli Tigers: 182/6 in 20 overs (Mohd Taha 68, Sujith N Gowda 31, R Vinay Kumar 30 n.o.; Vyshak Vijaykumar 3-45, Bhareth NP2-33) bt Mysuru Warriors: 179/9 in 20 overs (Arjun Hoysala 31, Amit Verma 24, Shoaib Manager 58; Mahesh Patel 2-35, Suraj Shesahdri 3-24) by 3 runs.

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