KPL: Provident Bangalore to take on Belgavi Panthers in the final

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MAKING MERRY: Belagavi Panthers’ skipper J. Arun Kumar cracked a brilliant 60 off 36 balls.
MAKING MERRY: Belagavi Panthers’ skipper J. Arun Kumar cracked a brilliant 60 off 36 balls.

Principal Correspondent

Bangalore: Belagavi Panthers ambushed fancied Bangalore Brigadiers with a 15-run victory in a Mantri Karnataka Premier League semifinal at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Panthers scored 159 for seven in 20 overs and bowled out Brigadiers for 144 in 20 overs to set up Wednesday’s final clash with Provident Bangalore, winner of the second semifinal later in the night.

Brigadiers struggled to chase except when M. Vinod (47, 27b, 5x4, 2x6) and David Mathias (20) shared a 41-run sixth-wicket partnership off 25deliveries.

Key batsman Robin Uthappa (9) found a tumbling Vinay Kumar at long-on and skipper Deepak Chougule was stumped before Vinod and Mathias threw their bats around while seamer David Johnson (four for38) grabbed the wickets.

Vinay excels

Meanwhile Johnson’s ally, seamer Vinay Kumar went wicket-less but his4-0-9-0 effort broken in to two spells proved to be a masterly display as he mixed up his deliveries ranging from yorkers to slow off-breaks. Vinay’s spells topped up his 54 with the bat.

Earlier skipper J. Arun Kumar’s 60 (36b, 5x4, 4x4) and Vinay’s 54 (40b, 3x4, 3x6) helped Panthers prowl.

Opener Arun, who watched his partner Manish Pandey slump with a tame pull, played with freedom along with Vinay. Arun waded in to Mathias while Vinay hoisted seamer Mansur Ali Khan and left-arm spinner Vinu Prasad.

The duo’s dismissals however slowed down the innings as just 59 runs came in the last nine overs.

Binny’s knock in vain

Later in the night, Provident Bangalore snatched a 20-run victory over Bijapur Bulls in the second semifinal.

Chasing Provident’s 153 for eight in 20 overs, Bulls, hamstrung by a top-order failure, scored 133 in 19.5 overs with Stuart Binny’s 42 (39b, 2x4, 2x6) going in vain.

As the night wore on, Sunil Kumar’s (three for six) leaping one-handed catch near the deep mid-wicket fence to dismiss Praveen Kumar off Sarfraz Ashraf (three for 19) proved to be the highlight.

Cameos galore

The Provident innings was littered with cameos as most of its batsmen got their starts but failed to stay and sizzle though the duo of Aniruddha Joshi (30) and Rahul Bhatkal (27) scattered a few sixes.

Change at the helm

Meanwhile, trouble within the Bulls camp forced a change at the top as Devraj Patil replaced Sudhindra Shinde as captain, ahead of the semifinal.

The change was forced by a skirmish that led to an alleged fist-fight between Shinde and opener Mithun Beerala at Mysore on Saturday, according to team sources.

The team management meanwhile offered the politically correct Shinde-opted-out line while refraining to comment on the squabble.

The KSCA secretary Brijesh Patel said that officials will look into the incident and decide on the future course of action.

The scores: Semifinals:

Belagavi Panthers 159 for seven in 20 overs (J. Arun Kumar 60, R. Vinay Kumar 54, Vinay Uthappa 32) bt Bangalore Brigadiers 144 in 20overs (M. Vinod 47, D. Johnson four for 38).

Provident Bangalore 153 for eight in 20 overs (A. Joshi 30, Rahul Bhatkal 27) bt Bijapur Bulls 133 in 19.5 overs (S. Binny 42, J.P.Shetty 29, Sunil Kumar three for six, S. Ashraf three for 19).

Wednesday’s match: Final: Belagavi Panthers vs Provident Bangalore, 7.15 p.m.

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