KPL: Belligerent Hoovers stars in Panthers' title triumph

Chasing a modest 141, the Panthers were seldom under pressure. Stallin Hoover's 52-ball 81 enabled them to easily chase Bulls' target.

SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Belagavi Panthers celebrate with the trophy after taming the Bijapur Bulls in the final.

Stallin Hoover (81, 52b, 8x4, 4x6) was the star for Belagavi Panthers yet again, as it won the sixth edition of the Karnataka Premier League following a six-wicket victory over Bijapur Bulls in the final at the KSCA Rajnagar Stadium here on Saturday.

Chasing a modest 141, the Panthers were seldom under pressure. Stallin made his intentions clear right at the start, clubbing Abhimanyu Mithun for a six over mid-on in the first over.

K. N. Bharath, too, didn’t lag as the opening duo scored at nearly nine an over in the PowerPlay. The closest Stallin came to being dismissed was when he was caught in the deep off a no-ball — a harsh call — when on 13.

Even after Bharath and Mir Kaunain Abbas fell in quick succession, there was no let-up in Stallin’s scoring as he brought up his fifty off 32 balls with a massive hit into the stands at long-on.

None of the Bulls’ bowling changes worked and by the time B. R. Sharath, the No. 4 batsman, departed, only 15 runs were needed.

Stallin was dismissed for 81 when his attempted nudge for a single off the bowling of Ronit More ended up carrying to the wicket-keeper. But by then there wasn’t much left for the others to do.

Earlier, after being put into bat, the Bulls’ innings was off to an inauspicious start with skipper Bharath Chipli run out without facing a ball.

Mohammed Taha and More partially stabilised the innings before the former was castled by Stuart Binny in the fifth over with the score reading 41.

Soon after, Shubhang Hegde removed More and Dikshanshu Negi.

From overs six to ten, the Bulls managed only 17 runs as Shubhang bowled four miserly overs (4-1-8-2). Then it was the turn of D. Avinash and Anand Doddamani — stars for the Panthers in the semifinals — to bowl stifling lines as the Bulls stared at an underwhelming total.

However, H. S. Sharath (30, 12b, 1x4, 3x6) landed a few meaty blows towards the end and stitched together 42 runs for the eighth wicket with Mithun. But in the end, other than imparting a shade of respectability, it did nothing.

Scorecard

Bijapur Bulls 141 for seven in 20 overs (Mohammed Taha 30, M.G. Naveen 25, H. S. Sharath 30 n.o.) lost to Belagavi Panthers 145 for four in 17.3 overs (Stallin Hoover 81).
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