A wounded Bull on the charge

Despite suffering two losses, the Bijapur Bulls look ahead with a mission.

The Bijapur Bulls haven’t gotten off to the best possible start in the 2017 edition of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL).  If the first match slipped from their clutches, their loss to Namma Shivamogga is bound to hurt.

More often than not, in tournaments such as this, back to back losses leave a team with little time to stage a comeback. And there is also the threat of bitter defeats leaving the lot demoralized. But one look at this year’s Bijapur Bulls outfit and you’re convinced about the grit and resolve on offer.

In Abhimanyu Mithun and Ronit More, Bijapur Bulls has the most potent fast-bowling pair in the tournament. Mithun has been consistent in the two matches thus far. His spell of 2/27 against Mysuru Warriors was a delight to watch and included a Yorker that shattered the stumps. Against Namma Shivamogga, his 2/22 came at an ever better economy rate. Mithun’s running in hard and his Yorkers in the death overs have been perfect.

Ronit More has been complementing Mithun while sharing the new ball. With raw pace and movement in the air and off the turf, he’s troubled all the batsmen so far. If his 4/25 against Mysuru Warriors was brilliant, his spell of 1/21 against Namma Shivamogga was fiery. Such was More’s aggression that he clocked 135 kph and was duly recognized with an award for the fastest ball bowled in the match.

In the batting unit, one name stands out – Nidhish Mohanram. With scores of 48 and 46, he is the proud owner of the Orange Cap at this stage. He is striking the ball well and is in prime form. Against Namma Shivamogga, Nidhish and Negi got a partnership going and it appeared as the pair was set to produce an encore of their show from the first match. But it wasn’t.

The two losses notwithstanding, Bijapur Bulls look ahead at the possibilities on offer. The areas of improvement are etched in stone. At the outset, the top order hasn’t fired. Skipper Bharath Chipli has on two occasions found the fielder when having looked good. Meanwhile, his opening partner Mohammed Taha tried to stitch an innings together but ended up mistiming an attempted lofted drive. In both their outings so far, Bijapur Bulls has found themselves reduced to 36/3 and 35/3. A strong partnership at the top is the order of the day.

The bowling unit has its work cut out as well. With figures of 0/37 from four overs and 0/21 from two overs, HS Sharath has been expensive. In the spin department, the team would like to see KC Cariappa fire. “Carri” is the pride of Bijapur Bulls and perhaps one of the biggest success stories to emerge from the team and KPL. However, his two outings so far have produced only one wicket and his spell of 0/32 from three overs against Namma Shivamogga is bound to get him fired up.

With developmental areas identified and Head Coach Deepak Chougule working on overdrive in collaboration with Asst. Coach Cheluvaraj, the team continues to refine its approach. Against the defending champions Bellary Tuskers on September 8, the Bijapur Bulls would look to come up and charge in unison. The prospect of a wounded Bull on the charge is bound to get heads turning.