Match 9 of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) 2019 will take place between Bengaluru Blasters and Shivamogga Lions at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. The Lions have won both their matches and the Blasters are yet to register a single win, but they are off the mark courtesy of a tied match against Bijapur Bulls on Sunday.
A win is crucial for both teams for different reasons. A win for Shivamogga will strengthen their position at the top of the table, while the Bengaluru will look to make a case for a place in the top 4. The Lions have looked comfortable in their two matches – having beaten Hubli Tigers by six wickets in the first game, followed by a 14-run win in the second match over Mysuru Warriors. Blasters’ first match yielded no result, while their second match against Bijapur Bulls ended up being a tie – yet another match which was cut short due to rain.
Considering this will be the second match of the day, there might be some wear and tear in the pitch which might assist the spinners as they have a chance to trouble the batsmen by pitching the ball in the rough. However, with the pitch having been kept under covers, for majority of the time overnight, we could see the pacers getting some assistance if there is some moisture. The teams should ideally go in with three fast bowlers and a spinner. However, it will be an added bonus if their all-rounder is also a spinner, which will give the team a good balance.
Opening batsman Nihal Ullal scored an unbeaten 88 against Hubli and followed that up with a quick-fire 28 in the next match against Mysuru. Along with being the captain, he can also fill the shoes of a wicketkeeper in your team.
Fast bowler HS Sharath has picked up five wickets in the two matches so far for Shivamogga and is a crucial bowling for the team at the start and at the end. His three wickets in the previous match against Mysuru won him the player of the match as well.
Middle-order batsman and captain of Bengaluru Rongsen Jonathan has done very little in this edition, but when given a chance he can take the game away in a very short span. He has five fifties in KPL and has a strike-rate of more than 121.
Occupying the crucial No. 4 position, Pavan Deshpande will be a crucial cog in Shivamogga’s middle-order. He struck a match-winning 42-ball 53 in the previous match against Mysuru and his team will hope that his form continues into this match as well. His off-breaks too could come in handy at some point.
A veteran of four Tests and five ODIs, Abhimanyu Mithun will be the one to watch out for. His experience will come in handy in crunch situations. Given that his economy rate is under 6.50, he will hope to choke the opposition with his accurate bowling and create opportunities for his team. He has picked up three wickets from the two matches so far.
Medium pacer V Koushik has picked up at least one wicket in his previous 10 matches in the KPL, whenever he has come on to bowl. Also, he has an economy rate of just over six in his KPL career and as someone who can pick up wickets and keep the runs down, he could be a good pick in your team.
Weather and pitch
As far as the weather is concerned, rain could once again play spoilsport. It has already played a huge part in a few matches in the tournament already and we can expect some light showers even during this match, which could get heavier as the night progresses. Talking about the pitch, the continuous rains have not let the pitch dry up and as a result, there could be some moisture for the fast bowlers to dictate the proceedings.
At Chinnaswamy in KPL, the team chasing has won 36, lost 34, while three matches have ended in no results and one match was tied. While the overall record tilts in the favour of the chasing side, in this edition of the KPL however, the chasing side have lost three, while won just one. Batting first could be the way to go, but considering the weather, the captains might be inclined to chasing.