Mysuru, Sept 4, 2018: Spin was the clear king in the first Karnataka Premier League(KPL) semifinal. Defending a modest 138 after Mysuru Warriors spinners Kushal Wadhwani and J Suchith had done the bulk of the damage, the Bengaluru Blasters hit back through their own spinners, the trio of Shreyas Gopal, Arshdeep Singh Brar and Anand Doddamani, to take their appointed place in the final with a 20-run win.
With Mysuru placed at a commanding 69 for 1 at the halfway mark of their chase, a score owed to left-handed opener Arjun Hoysala, who had blasted his way a half-century, things looked very bleak for Bengaluru Blasters, the League Stage toppers. It was then that skipper Robin Uthappa’s simple ways of bringing on an offie for the left-handers and a leggie for the right-handers did wonders. First Brar, known more for his big-hitting, got Hoysala (52, 42b, 8×4) in a tangle when one ball after wicketkeeper KB Pawan put him down, the opener wandered out of the crease, was beaten by the turn and was stumped. Next, over left-arm spinner, Doddamani (4-0-16-2) got Amit Verma to nick a straighter one behind.
With both left-handers gone, Uthappa promptly took Brar off despite his figures reading 2-0-5-1 at the stage and brought in leggie Gopal (3-0-13-3) to the right-handed Shoaib Manager. An ill-advised sweep against the turn saw Manager back in the dugout. After that, it was a virtual parade and Mysuru found themselves in a big hole, one they just couldn’t get out of.
Earlier, the start was hit by rain but despite the 65-minute delay, no overs were lost. The Blasters not only lost the toss, they lost wickets too at very regular intervals after being asked to bat first by Mysuru Warriors skipper J Suchith. It took a late burst from left-handed number seven Manoj Bhandage (34, 15b, 2×4, 2×6) for them to make some progress and ultimately set the host side 139 to get from the full 20 overs.
It was Suchith, in his chief role of left-arm spinner who broke the back of the Blasters’ line-up when he got rid of his opposite number Uthappa (23, 24b, 3×4) just when the batsman was looking to kick on. That was in the 13th over, which ended as a rare wicket maiden. Next over, his fourth and final, Suchith got rid of Brar.
Before Suchith got into the act it was young leg-spinner Kushal Wadhwani (3-25) who took center-stage. Wadhwani, whose first spell read 3-0-17-2, came back in the 19th over to grab a low caught and bowled chance offered by Bhandage to ensure the target would remain modest. It was just rewarding for some accurate bowling from the leg-spinner but then his batsmen let him down.
Brief scores: Bengaluru Blasters: 138/9 in 20 overs (Robin Uthappa 23, Manoj Bhandage 34; Prateek Jain 2-28, Kushal Wadhwani 3-25, J Suchith 2-12) bt Mysuru Warriors: 118/9 in 20 overs (Arjun Hoysala 52; Anand Doddamani 2-16, Shreyas Gopal 3-13) by 20 runs.