KPL 2018: KN Bharath’s last-ball six powers Bijapur Bulls to pulsating victory

In a game featuring two middle-order collapses, Bijapur Bulls rode on KN Bharath’s heroics to notch a last-gasp victory against Ballari Tuskers. With six runs needed off the last ball, the 23-year old held his composure to smack a full toss over the leg-side fence at the Srikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wadeyar Ground in Mysuru.

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Upon winning the toss, Bulls skipper Bharat Chipli decided to bowl first. Codanda Ajit Karthik took advantage of some wayward bowling and propelled the Tuskers to a formidable start. He plundered three sixes and one boundary from the fifth over of the innings.

At the end of the Power Play overs, Ballari were strongly positioned at 64/0. Chipli unleashed his trump card in a bid to break the opening partnership. The unorthodox leg-spin of KC Cariappa did the trick as Ajit Karthik was trapped in front.

Cariappa returned in the death overs to once again stifle Ballari’s hopes. He dismissed CM Gautam and Abhinav Manohar in his last over. The Tuskers lost their way and eventually finished with a seemingly middling total of 152.

Chipli began his team’s pursuit with a blazing cameo at the top of the order. He smashed four boundaries and a six before throwing his wicket away towards the end of the Power Play overs. Shishir Bhavane consolidated on the rapid start by playing the anchor role.

When the run-chase appeared to on track, Bijapur derailed their own progress by losing a slew of wickets. Even as his batting partners departed at inopportune moments, KN Bharath held firm to keep his team in the game.

The equation boiled down to 21 runs from the last two overs. Bharath pulled Bijapur ahead with a couple of serendipitous boundaries. Defending nine runs, all-rounder Ajit Karthik started promisingly by conceding just three runs from as many balls.

Six runs were required off the final three deliveries. KP Appanna sacrificed his wicket to bring the well-set batsman back on strike. The tension built into a crescendo as the medium pacer sneaked in a dot ball. However, he buckled under pressure and sent down a woeful no-ball. Bharath duly sent the waist high full toss sailing into the stands to seal a pulsating triumph.

Brief Scores: Ballari Tuskers – 152/9 (Rohan Kadam 52, Codanda Ajit Karthik 45, KC Cariappa 3/11, KP Appanna 2/15); Bijapur Bulls – 154/8 from 19.5 overs (KN Bharath 72*, Shishir Bhavane 31, Lokesh Akshay 3/30, Rithesh Bhatkal 2/20)

Result – Bijapur Bulls won by two wickets with one ball to spare

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