There were some fine individual performances, but none more so than Stuart Binny's. The all-rounder hammered a 46-ball 87 and followed that up with 2 for 37 as Belagavi Panthers eased to a 23-run win over Bengaluru Blasters in the afternoon clash of Karnataka Premier League 2017 on Friday, September 8, at the S.D.N.R Ground in Mysuru.
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Binny's belligerence also earned him the orange cap. It had helped Belagavi post 192 for 7 after they opted to bat. But for a while, that target looked in threat as M Vishwanathan and Shishir Bhavane began the chase with vigour with an 85-run stand for the second wicket.
However, once the stand was broken, Belagavi were able to apply the brakes, Bengaluru being restricted to 169 in 19.3 overs.
Belagavi had a wobbly start, losing their first four wickets within seven overs with just 32 runs on board. Prasidh Krishna started things off, inducing an edge off Mir Kaunain Abbas (5) before a mix-up between Shashindra (3) and BR Sharath saw the former being run out.
Then, Abhishek Bhat, who claimed a five-for in Bengaluru's previous clash against Hubli Tigers, saw off KN Bharath (1) and Sharath (19) in successive overs, thereby ensuring Binny walked into a pressure pot.
The first sign that this was Binny's day came when Jeswanth Acharya dropped him at short fine leg when he was on 10.
Binny proceeded to pick at least a boundary almost every over thereafter. Mitrakant Yadav, Pavan Deshpande and Rajoo Bhatkal, all faced the brunt of Binny's blade, as he went about reviving the innings. Providing able support was S Rakshith, who scored at a healthy clip himself, and the two added an important 89 for the fifth wicket.
Brief scores: Belagavi Panthers 192 for 7 in 20 overs (Stuart Binny 87, S Rakshith 29; Prasidh Krishna 2-50, Abhishek Bhat 2-22) beat Bengaluru Blasters 169 in 19.3 overs (M Vishwanathan 65, Shishir Bhavane 34; Kishore Kamat 4-26, Stalin Hoover 2-29) by 23 runs.
Meanwhile, in the evening encounter on Friday, Mayank Agarwal and Abhishek Reddy turned on the style against Namma Shivamogga as Hubli Tigers cantered to their third win of the ongoing KPL season. Agarwal (92 not out off 58 balls) and Reddy (67 off 67) put on a stand of 152 as Hubli toppled Shivamogga's 166 for 6 in 19.2 overs, finishing at 169 for 3.
Shivamogga had set Hubli a tricky target, but the start provided by Agarwal and Reddy ensured the job was much easier that it could have been.
Agarwal made a statement in the very first delivery of the innings with a cracking cover drive off Pradeep T, the paceman. Abhishek Reddy made his intentions clear in the next over, with a heave for four off Somanna. The two never really eased off thereafter – no bowler was spared, and both pace and spin was treated with equal disdain.
Earlier, Shivamogga got off to a decent start, despite the early dismissal of Sadiq Kirmani (2), who holed out off Ishfaq Nazir Bhat. Liyan Khan, one of the stars for Shivamogga in their clash against Bijapur, seemed in good nick again and he stitched a fine 38-run partnership with Jonathan that worried Hubli considerably.
Jonathan executed a lovely cut off R Vinay Kumar, while Liyan charged Ishfaq Nazir down the ground for six. The stand was going well when Hubli got a somewhat fortunate breakthrough after Liyan (21), attempting to step back in his crease to a short delivery, was out hit-wicket.
Shoaib Manager, another one of Shivamogga's heroes against Bijapur, was once again aggressive, so much so that Jonathan decided he would leave the big-hitting to Manager. He picked Ishfaq Nazir for consecutive boundaries, one of them a six, before giving Kranthi Kumar similar treatment.
Brief scores: Namma Shivamogga 166 for 6 in 20 overs (R Jonathan 69, Anirudha Joshi 31; Abhishek Sakuja 2-25, Kranthi Kumar 2-41) lost to Hubli Tigers 169 for 3 in 19.2 overs (Mayank Agarwal 92*, Abhishek Reddy 67; Pradeep T 1-32) by seven wickets.