Hubballi, Sep 30: A superb timely unbeaten century by opener Mayank Agarwal powered Belagavi Panthers into the semi-finals of the fifth Karnataka Premier League (KPL) Twenty20 tournament at the KSCA Stadium in Rajnagar on Thursday night (September 29).
Agarwal's ton helped Panthers amass 175 and they bowled out Mangalore United for 137 to win by 39 runs (Target 177 as per VJD method).
Panthers were in a must-win situation. A No-Result or loss would have ejected them from the tournament. On the other hand Mangalore had nothing to lose as they were out of last-four race. Under cloudy skies they asked Panthers to take strike.
Agarwal (119 not out; 51b, 4x6, 15x4) and Anurag Bajpai (51; 39b, 1x6, 5x4) batted aggressively right from the start. Agarwal, who scored only the second hundred of this edition of KPL was in fine nick. He drove on the up, cut and pulled as he wished to race along.
A rain interruption in the fourth over was reason for Panthers to worry. But once the match recommenced, with overs reduced to 15 overs a side, Agarwal went berserk with his hitting and registered his ton.
It was his third century in KPL cricket and the 119 he made was the highest individual score of KPL. For good measure his ton off 45 balls is the fastest in the event. It fetched him the man of the match award.
The first wicket pair accumulated 175 runs in 15 overs, a total beyond Mangalore's reach.
The Mangalore team's chase was promising, with skipper Karun Nair (26; 14b, 4x4) and M Vishwanathan putting on 45 runs in quick time.
Vishwananthan, a hard-hitting adventurous opener made a rapid 46 (28b, 3x6, 3x4) but Mangalore were always fighting a losing battle.
Belagavi Panthers: 175 for 1 in 15 overs (Mayank Agarwal 119 not out, Anurag Bajpai 51) beat Mangalore United: 137 in 14.1 overs (M Vishwanathan 45, Ronit More 35, Karun Nair 26, Vinay Kumar 2/13, Abhishek Sakuja 3/16, Avishek Sinha 2/29, CK Akshay 3/21) by 39 runs. Target: 177 as per VJD method.