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Both the champions and runners-up from last season of KPL are yet to open their accounts and in this case, the Tuesday encounter is going to be a fascinating one with both the teams having some player or the other to put up a great show at Hubli.
Players to watch out for:
With skipper Bharath Chipli getting a good start against Hubli Tigers in the first game, the responsibility of providing the same in the powerplays will again be on his able shoulders. Chipli scored sensible 29 off 25 deliveries in the first game. Naveen MG’s quick-fire unbeaten knock of 44 runs towards the end was the most positive takeaway for the Bulls from their previous game and he is again expected to show his big-hitting skills against the Panthers.
In the bowling department, a lot will depend on the spin twin of KP Apanna and KC Cariappa. While Cariappa proved to be very economical in the previous game and picked up Sujit Gowda’s wicket, Apanna, on the other hand, bowled only two overs and went for 20 runs.
Coming from a huge loss in the inaugural game against Bengaluru Blasters, the Panthers will depend on their skipper and international all-rounder Stuart Binny to deliver the goods with both bat and the ball pretty much like he did in the previous edition of the KPL. Binny picked up three wickets in the first game but went back into the hut very cheaply while chasing a steep target of 229 runs. HS Sharath’s knock of 49 was the only good thing in the run-chase and the team would want him to contribute in the middle order again. Stalin Hoover, Panthers’ star from last season needs to fire for them to help the defending champions register their first victory in this edition.
Conditions in Hubli:
The KPL caravan has reached Hubli from state capital Bengaluru and the pitch here has a record of not producing many runs while most of the games played at the KSCA ground, Hubli sees an average score of around 160 and the behavior is expected to remain the same at the venue.
There are a few chances of precipitation at Hubli on Thursday. There is a prediction of scattered rainfall while both the teams and the cricket lovers would want the clouds to stay away from the venue and not dampen the spirit of the players and spectators during such crucial game where both the teams will be looking forward to a win. In case of rain, the DLS method might come into the picture and both the skippers will be having that in mind as well.
Bijapur Bulls: Bharath Chipli (c), KP Appanna, Ronit More, Suneel Raju, Shishir Bhavane, KC Cariappa, Naveen MG, KN Bharath, Mir Kaunain Abbas, Zahoor Farooqui, Anurag Bajpai (wk)
Belagavi Panthers: Stuart Binny (c), HS Sharath, Stallin Hoover, M Nidhish, Sadiq Kirmani (wk), Dikshanshu Negi, Akshay Ballal, Rakshith S, Shubang Hegde, Avinash D, Saurabh Yadav