Hubballi, Sep 30: An unbroken 5th wicket partnership of 104 runs in 11.2 overs between skipper B Akhil and GS Chiranjeevi helped Bellary Tuskers stun champions Bijapur Bulls in the fifth Karnataka Premier League (KPL) Twenty20 tournament at the KSCA Stadium in Rajnagar on Thursday (September 29).
The win was all the sweeter as it assured Tuskers of a place in the semi-finals. Bijapur Bulls who finished their league engagements with seven points, failed to reach the last-four stage.
Tuskers met with luck at the toss and with heavy overcast conditions prevailing, had no hesitation in asking Bulls to take first strike. The afternoon match played almost right through under lights went well for the Bulls as long as opener R Samarth (38, 28b, 2x6, 3x4) was at the wicket.
But his departure and that of Robin Uthappa (29) was soon followed by a spell of heavy rain. When play resumed the overs were restricted to 17 overs a side. Bijapur Bulls lost wickets in search of runs and were contained to 125 for 9.
Chasing a VJD method target of 130, Tuskers lost their top order batsmen cheaply and were 8 for three and soon 29 for four before Akhil (61 not out; 38b, 3x6, 5x4) and Chiranjeevi (42 not out; 31b, 5x4) kept the faith and did the rescue act.
They rotated strike often and then struck boundaries every now and then to keep the target in sight. Man-of-the-match Akhil showed maturity and experience by controlling the innings. He kept his partner going to make light of the task.
A couple of dropped catches, probably owing to the wet ball helped their cause. The win came in the 16th over amid great celebration.
Bijapur Bulls: 125 for 9 in 17 overs (R Samarth 38, Robin Uthappa 29, Amit Verma 3/22, Prateek Jain 2/30) lost to Bellary Tuskers: 133 for 4 in 15.5 overs (B Akhil 61 not out, GS Chiranjeevi 42 not out, Abhimanyu Mithun 2/16) by 6 wickets. Target 130 by VJD method.