The Bulls sealed a four-wicket victory over defending champions Ballari Tuskers after the two added 55 runs off just 17 balls in a thrilling chase.
Mysuru, 9 September 2017: Press Release
It was power-hitting at its brilliant best as Abhimanyu Mithun (30 not out off 10) and M Nidish (33 not out off 16) clubbed Bijapur Bulls to a thrilling four-wicket victory over Ballari Tuskers, the defending champion of Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League 2017, powered by Cycle Pure Agarbathies, at the S.D.N.R Wadiyar ground in Mysuru on Saturday (9 September).
CM Gautam’s unbeaten 35-ball 50 had helped Ballari post 172 for 6 after batting first. Bijapur was then reduced to 118 for 6 in the 17th over of their chase, still needing 55 more runs. However, Mithun and Nidish combined to destructive effect, adding 55 runs off just 17 deliveries to complete a thrilling turnaround for Bijapur.
Also playing a crucial role in Bijapur’s chase was their captain, Bharath Chipli. He took on both Zahoor Faroqui and Prateek Jain, and continued on the attack despite losing Mohammed Taha (8), his opening partner. Jain was repeatedly punished by Chipli, as was Amit Verma, and though Bhavesh Gulecha managed to restrict the flow of runs, Bijapur began the tenth over well-placed at 73 for 1.
However, Ballari got their noses back into the game when Anil IG, the left-arm spinner, managed to dismiss Chipli after the half-way point of the innings. The captain had made a 35-ball 65, and his absence was felt by Bijapur. Naveen MG was cleaned up by Jain for a 26-ball 17, and Gulecha saw off Sharath (5) in the very next over. After a powerful start, Bijapur was reduced to 94 for 4.
Dikshanshu Negi and Nidish M added a risk-free 22 to steady the innings, but one Faroqui over seemed to shift the momentum Ballari’s way once again. Faroqui bowled the 17th over and had Negi (10) dismissed, beating him for pace. AM Kiran, the new man, was then run out after a mix-up with Nidish.
However, Mithun then entered the fray. He used his muscles well to loft two sixes off the final two balls of the over, lofting both down the ground for six. Nidish then repeated the feat off Jain, clubbing a couple of consecutive sixes, one of which cleared the ground. The target was reduced to 25 off the final two overs.
The penultimate over, by Faroqui, yielded 13 runs after Nidish found the fence off the last two deliveries. He was rather fortunate with the second of those, an inside-edge off a yorker ending up at the fine-leg fence. However, Mithun then took charge, clearing his front leg for two massive sixes over long on and extra cover consecutively. And just like that, Bijapur had completed a massive turnaround against the defending champion, Mithun’s 10-ball knock comprising four hugely important sixes.
Earlier, Ballari got off to a less than ideal start when Mithun had both Rohan Kadam (10) and KB Pawan (5), the openers, dismissed off consecutive deliveries. That didn’t turn out to be too much of a blow as it brought Amit Verma to the middle. He didn’t waste time settling in – there was a six and a four off Ronit More in the next over, and three off HS Sharath thereafter, the over yielding 13 runs.
Verma found able support in Gautam, who made his intentions clear when he carved a six over covers off Sharath in the next over. The boundaries then dried up as KC Cariappa was brought into the attack, but Verma and Gautam kept the scoreboard moving with good running. The two laid a solid foundation for a late assault, but unfortunately for Ballari, the stand was broken at a crucial juncture when Verma (46 off 33) was deceived by Negi’s leg-spin and he popped an easy return catch.
Unperturbed, Gautam carried on, with the 22-year-old Abhinav Manohar offering impetus at the other end. Manohar, in fact, was connecting with the ball so sweetly that Gautam decided to anchor the innings while his young partner attacked. Manohar hit a total of four sixes, off Negi, Naveen and Cariappa, before his quickfire innings was ended, caught behind off Naveen for an 18-ball 35.
Gautam then completed his half-century off 34 balls, boosting Ballari to a seemingly strong total. Unfortunately for them, Mithun was in rare form on the day.
Brief scores: Ballari Tuskers 172 for 6 in 20 overs (Amit Verma 46, CM Gautam 50; Abhimanyu Mithun 2-26, Naveen MG 2-35) lost to Bijapur Bulls 174 for 6 in 19.3 overs (Bharat Chipli 63, Nidish M 33*, Abhimanyu Mithun 30*; Zahoor Faroqui 2-41) by four wickets.
Man of the Match: Abhimanyu Mithun (Bijapur Bulls)