KPL: Sadiq Kirmani’s half-century in vain, as Hubli Tigers scamper home in season opener

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Hubballi, Sep 17: A responsible knock by Namma Shivamogga opener Sadiq Kirmani, who scored the first fifty of the fifth edition of the Karbonn KPL powered by Cycle Agarbathies, a 63-ball 69, was not good enough to stop hosts Hubli Tigers from registering a tense two-wicket win over Namma Shivamogga, in the opening match at the KSCA Rajnagar stadium, Hubbali, here on Saturday morning.

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Hubli Tigers asked Namma Shivamogga to bat first, on an overcast morning with a pitch that offered some assistance to the bowlers upfront. Sreenath Arvind was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3 for 16 from his four overs. [KPL 2016 trophy unveiled]

Hubli Tigers celebrate a wicket

A probing line and length by the Hubali pacers upfront, restricted the score to 32/0 at the end of the batting power play, but the batsmen started flexing muscles soon after they got their eye in.

Kirmani hit the ground running with some handsome strokes, but just when they were about to press foot on the pedal, Nikin Jose (37), holed out to long-off, where Stallin Hoover took a nice catch diving forward.

His dismissal seemed to open the flood-gates for Shivamogga, who lost their next five wickets for a mere 46 runs. Stuart Binny (11), Pawan Deshpande (1), Zeeshan Ali (2), Siddharth (0) and David Mathias (5), all fell cheaply trying to up the ante.

However, a combative knock from Kirmani ensured that Shivamogga ended their innings with a modest 129 for 6.

In reply, the Tigers got off to a flying start with both Taha and Abhishek Reddy making full use of the fielding restrictions.

Taha was particularly harsh on Stuart Binny, hitting him for a six first ball, and Abhishekh Reddy took a liking to David Mathias in his very first over, launching him for a massive six and a beautifully crafted boundary in the same over.

Just when it seemed the Tigers were running away with the game, Shivamogga bowlers fought back with couple of quick dismissals.

Abhishekh Reddy was run out for 13, while Taha departed after a well made 23 of 13, hitting two sixes and one boundary in the course of his short but entertaining knock.

Left-arm orthodox spinner, A Kazi turned out to be Shivamogga's lynchpin in the bowling department, as he spun a web around the Tigers middle order that threatened to strangle an otherwise seamless looking run chase.

Kazi picked up three for 23, and was complemented well by right arm off-spinner, Zeeshan Ali, who bagged a wicket for 21 runs from his quota of four overs.

Even though the Tigers middle -order showed vulnerability against spin, a heady mix of exuberance and maturity from Vinu Prasad (22) and Kranthi Kumar (7), steered the Tigers home with an over to spare.

It was hard going for Namma Shivamogga the moment their batsmen failed to capitalize on a decent start provided by their openers.

Nevertheless, their bowlers, determined not to squander the help in the wicket, bowled a nagging line and length but it was the home side - Hubli Tigers who took the honors, amid much fan-fare.

S. Arvind was adjudged the Man of the Match, for his match-winning spell of 4-1-16-3.

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