Hubbali, Sep 22: In a pulsating finish that went down to the wire, Hubli Tigers snatched a brilliant 4-wicket win over Belagavi Panthers in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) Twenty20 tournament at the picturesque KSCA Stadium in Rajnagar on Thursday evening (September 22).
Set to make a stiff 178 for a win in 20 overs, Hubli batsmen launched a superb fightback to register an outstanding win.
Mohammed Taha, the opener, was in delightful touch and took on accomplished bowlers R Vinay Kumar and HS Sharath with a series of wonderful strokes. The best part of his batting was his fearless hitting through the line and the willingness to loft and cut at the slightest opportunity.
Taha (43; 18b, 4x6, 3x4) set the tone for the reply and later, man of the match Dikshanshu Negi (57 not out; 43b, 2x6, 3x4) took over. He was not as flamboyant as Taha but kept the scorers busy.
In between KN Bharath (17), Chetan Williams (17), Stalin Hoover (14) all chipped away at the target. Finally the left-handed Sarfraz Ashraf (14 not out; 6b, 2x4) was with Negi when they went hammer and tongs in the last two overs.
They smashed 17 runs in the 19th over sent down by Vinay Kumar and nine runs in the last over to take the side home.
Earlier, Hubli opted to send Belagavi into bat and almost came a cropper. Belagavi skipper Vinay promoted himself to number three in the batting order and along with opener Mayank Agarwal (42; 28b, 1x6, 5x4) clobbered the attack in a 79-run second wicket partnership in only 56 balls.
Vinay who top scored with 70 (52b, 2x6, 5x4) added 67 runs with Kaunian Abbas (40; 29b, 3x4) for the third wicket as Panthers posted a healthy total of 177 for 5 in the allotted 20 overs.
The target might have been stiff, but Hubli clawed their way back into the match and won with a ball to spare.
Belagavi Panthers: 177/5 in 20 overs (Vinay Kumar 70, Mayank Agarwal 42, Kunian Abbas 40, S Arvind 2/32) lost to Hubli Tigers: 179/6 in 19.5 overs (Dikshanshu Negi 57 n.o, Md. Taha 43, Praveen Dubey 3/34) by 4 wickets.