Hubballi, Sep 21: A 50-minute rain interruption completely changed equations in the 5th edition of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) Twenty20 match between Bellary Tuskers and Hubli Tigers and left the latter thankful for their luck with the toss, on Tuesday evening (September 20).
On a pitch quickened by rain and shorn of turn and movement and with the ball skidding off the outfield, Hubli's opener Mohammed Taha batted with gay abandon. He drove on the up, square drove with power and used the flick shot to effect to put pressure on Bellary Tuskers.
In the end the rain-shortened match where the target score was reduced from a competitive 165 to 139 from 16 overs went in Hubli Tigers' favour. Their 7-wicket win with 7 balls to spare served notice that they were back to their winning ways.
Taha's 52 (36b, 1x6, 7x4) and his 66-run stand with skipper Kunal Kapoor (22; 20b, 2x4) in a mere 7.1 overs was the highlight of the win. He kept the Tuskers at bay with wonderful strokeplay and in the end that set the tone for the commendable win.
Earlier, Bellary Tuskers seemed to have blown away an excellent opportunity to run up a mammoth total when they squandered the advantage of a brilliant opening partnership. They also lost their way towards the end overs when they added a paltry 32 runs in the last five overs losing three wickets in the process.
The left-right combination of Rohan Kadam (50; 40b, 1x6, 4x4) and KB Pawan (54; 37b, 5x6, 3x4) had given a solid start by putting on 101 runs for the first wicket in 11 overs. However the dismissal of these two batsmen wrecked Tuskers' momentum.
The pick of the Tigers' bowlers was medium pacer Chetan Williams whose line, short of a length bowling and lack of pace confounded the opposition.
Williams took the pace off the ball rather judiciously and on a pitch not really conducive to stroke-making, (Monday's matches were played on an adjoining track) his tactics were ideal.
Later, he slammed a quickfire unbeaten 28 to take his side home and with it won the man of the match.
This ensured that Tuskers, flying high at 101 for 1 in 11 overs, were brought down to earth and in the last nine overs managed a mere 63 runs and thus were contained to 164 for six.
Bellary Tuskers: 164 for 6 in 20 overs (KB Pawan 54, Rohan Kadam 50, Chetan Williams 3/20) lost to Hubli Tigers: 143/3 in 14.5 overs (Mohammad Taha 52, Chetan Williams 28 not out, Kunal Kapoor 22) by 7 wickets on VJD method.