KPL 2019: Ullal leads Shivamogga to comprehensive win

Set 155 for victory, Shivamogga cruised home with two overs to spare at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday.

Nihal Ullal of Shivamogga Lions, plays a shot, during the Karnataka Premier League 2019 (KPL) cricket match between Hubli Tigers vs Shivamogga Lions, at M Chinnaswamy stadium (KSCA), in Bengaluru.   -  k. murali kumar

A superb unbeaten 88 by Nihal Ullal led Shivamogga Lions to a comprehensive six-wicket win over Hubli Tigers in the KPL.

Set 155 for victory, Shivamogga cruised home with two overs to spare at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday.

Ullal was at the vanguard of the pursuit, his 60-ball knock studded with 11 fours and three sixes. Shivamogga's approach to the run-chase was clear. The openers came out swinging, with Ullal taking charge, as the power-play yielded 54 runs.

Ullal was one of the two players Shivamogga had retained going into this year's action, despite the fact that the batsman had not enjoyed a great season last time, scoring only 90 runs from five innings. The 26-year-old repaid the faith here, taking the Hubli bowlers to the cleaners.

Vinay Kumar was cut and pulled, and Aditya Somanna driven sweetly through extra-cover. The leg-spinner Mahesh Patel came in for some harsh treatment, as Ullal slog-swept him twice into the stands. The fifty was raised with a searing cover-drive off Abhilash Shetty before Praveen Dubey was carted over cow-corner.

With Pavan Deshpande (20) and Akshay Ballal (20) giving Ullal able support, Shivamogga made short work of the target.

Pawan stars with the bat

Earlier, Pawan anchored the Hubli effort with a rapid half-century after Vinay Kumar had won the toss and elected to bat first. Pawan had developed a reputation as a stodgy opening batsman during his time with the Karnataka Ranji Trophy side, but the 31-year-old showed here that there is a different side to his game too. He struck seven fours and one huge six, off T. Pradeep. That six took Pawan to a 35-ball-fifty but he fell one ball later, holing out off a full toss.

Pawan's dismissal brought to an end a 49-run-stand for the fourth wicket with K.L. Shrijith that had propped up the Hubli innings. On either side of that partnership, the batsmen floundered. T. Pradeep took three key wickets, removing the opener Luvnith Sisodia early before accounting for both Pawan and Shrijith in quick succession. Hubli managed to cross the 150-run-mark, but that score would prove vastly inadequate.

Ballari Tuskers beat Belagavi Panthers

Meanwhile, in the day's second game, Ballari Tuskers edged Belagavi Panthers by five runs in a thriller. Batting first, Ballari rode on Devdutt Padikkal's fifty to make 144 for five in 20 overs.

In reply, Belagavi seemed out of the contest at 54 for five, but a late rally by Ritesh Bhatkal and Abhinav Manohar dragged the side close.

That, however, was not enough as Ballari's K. Gowtham successfully defended 13 off the final over.
 

The scores: Hubli Tigers 154 in 20 overs (K.B. Pawan 53, K.L. Shrijith 33, H.S. Sharath two for 30, T. Pradeep three for 47, Rishabh Singh three for 19) lost to Shivamogga Lions 155 for four in 18 overs (Nihal Ullal 88 n.o., Mitrakanth Yadav two for 26)

Ballari Tuskers 144 for five in 20 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 54, Abhishek Reddy 35, C.M. Gautam 27, Zahoor Farooqui two for 28) beat Belagavi Panthers 138 for eight in 20 overs (Ritesh Bhatkal 27, Abhinav Manohar 26, Bhavesh Gulecha two for 15, Prasidh Krishna two for 26, K. Gowtham two for 32).