Mysuru, September 3: Bengaluru Blasters kept their all-win record intact with a narrow two-run, last-gasp victory over hosts Mysuru Warriors in a KPL 2018 tie at the SDNR Wadiyar Stadium here on Sunday night (September 2).
Having recovered from being 24 for 3 and then 61 for 4, to post a modest 148 after they had been put into bat by Mysuru skipper J Suchith, the Blasters bowlers made early inroads into the Mysuru line-up to spoil the party much to the disappointment of a capacity home crowd.
But Mysuru made a dramatic recovery of their own towards the very end, number 8 SP Manjunath (34 not out, 24b, 4x4, 1x6) almost pulling off the impossible, before he found himself at the wrong end when four was needed off the final ball.
With only the match between the two winless teams, Shivamogga Lions and Ballari Tuskers, to go in the league phase, the top four were also identified. League toppers Bengaluru will once again take on Mysuru in the first semifinal on Tuesday (Septembr 4) while second-placed Hubli Tigers will meet Bijapur Bulls, who finished third, in the second semifinal on Wednesday (September 5)
Earlier, the Blasters' start was rocky thanks to twin strikes from seamer NP Bhareth in the first and third overs and one by left-armer Prateek Jain in the fourth over. That's when their skipper Robin Uthappa's experience came to the fore as he first used all his skill to see the new ball bowlers out of the attack while he himself never went too defensive. But it was the man who joined him at 24 for three who made all the difference.
Left-hander Pavan Deshpande it was who held the innings together even after Uthappa (37, 28b, 4x4, 1x6) played all over Amit Verma delivery in the 10th over with Blasters having moved on to 61. Showing a good sense of responsibility, the number five bat brought a sense of stability to the innings, which was the dire need of the moment.
Joined in an 87-run (63 balls) association for the unbroken fifth wicket by Vinit Yadav, Deshpande showed that even in a T20 game, good things come to those who wait. At the end of five overs, he had made one run from 10 ten balls.
Ten overs later when the 15th over of the innings was completed he was on 50 from 39, a good position from where to carry on. And that's exactly what he did, ending up with 54-ball 76 (7x4, 2x6) while Yadav remained unbeaten on 30 (30b, 3x4). It was the stand that made to the difference to the end result.
Brief scores: Bengaluru Blasters: 148/4 in 20 overs (Robin Uthappa 37, Pavan Deshpande 76 n.o., Vinit Yadav 30 n.o.; NP Bhareth 2-25) beat Mysuru Warriors: 146/9 in 20 overs (Sharath Srinivas 37, SP Manjunath 34 n.o.; Abhishek Bhat 2-37, Rohan Raju 2-24, Sharath Gowda 2-22) by 2 runs.
Monday's match (Sept 3, 2018) - Shivamogga Lions vs Ballari Tuskers - 6.40 pm, SDNR Wadiyar Stadium, Mysuru.
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