Devdutt Padikkal’s stock continued to rise as the stylish left-hander smashed a vibrant half-century to guide Ballari Tuskers to a comfortable win over Hubli Tigers in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) 2019.
Padikkal, who continued to elicit comparisons to Yuvraj Singh for his wristy play, called on shots with elegance to race to 70 from 56 balls in guiding Tuskers to 163 for 8 from 20 overs.
The Tigers, in response, got off the blocks precariously, losing Mohammad Taha in the opening over. M Vishwanathan’s 30 raised the run-rate and hopes, but their run chase withered with the loss of regular wickets. Tigers finished their innings on 154 for 9 in 20 overs to suffer a 9-run loss, their second in as many games.
Coming into the game with a five-run win over Belagavi Panthers under their belt, Tuskers looked every bit the side with confidence. Their openers Karthik CA (9) and Abhishek Reddy (24) displayed plenty of aggression, but the Tigers felt the full force of their opponents only when Padikkal got going and finished with his second half-century of the tournament.
With the sun finally shining down on the M Chinnaswamy stadium, R Vinay Kumar, the Tigers’ skipper, hoped to use the early moisture and peg back the Tuskers’ attacking batting line-up. His reading of the conditions and surface didn’t reflect on the scorecard as Tuskers reached 81 for 2 in 10 overs.
The Tuskers lost some traction in the last five overs, losing three wickets in three deliveries, but they still managed to cross the 160-run mark. Tigers’ reply wasn’t ideal with Taha falling to Prasiddh Krishna off the second delivery, but Luvnith Sisodia steadied the ship with five boundaries en route to 22. Vishwanathan and KL Shrijith (22) did some heavy hitting thereafter, much to CM Gautam’s annoyance.
Abrar Kazi, however, scuttled Tigers’ plans, picking up two wickets - Vishwanathan and KB Pawan - in one over. Pravin Dubey (28) and Vinay Kumar (37) kept a foot in the door, but the Tuskers slammed it shut not much later with CA Karthik bagging three wickets for 19 runs.
Meanwhile, the second women’s KPL match between Shivamogga Lions and Belagavi Panthers was called off due to heavy underfoot conditions at the Raja Rajeshwari Medical College grounds. The opening game between Panthers and Ballari Tuskers on Sunday was also called off due to poor playing conditions.
Hon. Assistant Secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association Mr Santosh Menon said: “Due to poor weather we have cancelled one round of the women’s games, meaning tomorrow’s game is also cancelled. Now, instead of the three teams playing each other twice, they will play each other just once. The finalists will then face-off in a final at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on August 25.”
(With input from agencies)