Hubballi, Sep 26: A superb unbeaten 53 by Dikshanshu Negi built on an excellent foundation laid by skipper Kunal Kapoor powered Hubli Tigers to a win over Mangalore United in the fifth Karnataka Premier League (KPL) Twenty20 tournament at the KSCA Stadium in Rajnagar on Sunday (September 25).
Mangalore set a stiff target of 174 but Hubli paced their innings superbly to win by 5 wickets and with 2 balls to spare.
Mangalore lost explosive opener Mohammed Taha in only the 2nd over of the chase. But Manjesh Reddy (30; 22b, 1x6, 4x4) and Kapoor (65; 46b, 1x6, 7x4) struck a good 69-run second wicket partnership to set the base for the chase.
Kapoor then added 51 from 42 balls for the third wicket with Negi before the latter, along with number seven batsman KN Bharath (15 n.o; 6b, 2x6) launched an attack towards the end. Negi finished with 53 n.o from 33 balls (2x6, 3x4) and was named man of the match.
The win ensured that Hubli Tigers would make the semi-final stage.
Earlier, put in to bat, Mangalore United were very well served by opener M Vishwanathan (45; 35b, 2x6, 4x4) and M Nidhish (41; 38b, 1x6, 3x4). Skipper Karun Nair (24), NP Bharath (22) and Shishir Bhavane (20) made useful scores to boost the total to a very competitive 173 for 7.
However, as events unfolded later in the afternoon, that total was insufficient against an extremely competent Hubli side.
Mangalore United: 173 for 7 in 20 overs (M Vishwanathan 45, M Nidhish 41, Karun Nair 24, NP Bharath 22, Shishir Bhavane 20, Stalin Hoover 3/15, Sarfaraz Ashraf 2/32) lost to Hubli Tigers: 176 for 5 in 19.4 overs (Kunal Kapoor 65, Dikshanshu Negi 53 not out, Manjesh Reddy 30, Mitrakanth Singh Yadav 3/25) by 5 wickets.