Bengaluru, August 23: K Gowtham scored the fastest century in KPL history and picked up an astounding eight wickets to power Ballari Tuskers to a facile 70-run win over Shivamogga Lions in the battle of top two at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Friday (August 23).
Tuskers finished on a season-high 203 for 3 in 17 overs in a rain-curtailed contest before bundling the Lions out for 133 all out in 16.3 overs. With this win, the Tuskers ended on top of the table with eight points from five games to guarantee themselves a spot for the playoffs of the Redmi Karnataka Premier League, powered by Dream11.
While making it to the playoffs with one game left in their league itinerary was in itself a feat, how the Tuskers got there was the stuff of legends.
Gowtham, pushed up the order to No.3, decimated Lions' attack by smashing his hundred from 39 balls with six fours and 10 sixes. He went on to score the highest individual score in KPL with an unbeaten 134 from a mind-boggling 54 balls, including seven fours and 13 sixes. Mayank Agarwal was the man on top of both those tables with a high score of 119 and a century from 45 balls.
Gowtham also topped the most-sixes-in-an-innings chart, erasing Mohammad Taha's mark of nine sixes in his 83 against Bijapur Bulls in 2017.
The Lions' response was a good one with Akshay Ballal (41) and Pavan Deshpande (45) firing, but Gowtham spoilt that party too, picking up eight wickets, the most for a bowler in an innings, for a mere 15 runs in four overs. The previous KPL record was held by Nikin Jose, who picked up 6 for 11 runs in 2015.
Gowtham was on a hat-trick on two occasions, but he missed out on both those instances. He did pick up three wickets off three balls the first time around but for the wide he sent down after picking up the first two.
Earlier, CM Gautam's decision to bat first raised some eyebrows early on, but Gowtham rewarded his skipper's decision with a blitz of unprecedented proportions. Lions' bowlers were guilty of dropping the ball short early on, but once Gowtham was set, there was nowhere for them to bowl. SP Manjunath faced the full brunt of Gowtham's blows, conceding four sixes in a row in the 12th over.
It must be noted that Gowtham was put down on four occasions, none easier than the one Arjun Hoysala grassed off the bowing of Manjunath when the batsman was on 17. HS Sharath dropped the batsman on 49 and 80, while Pavan Deshpande put him down on 74. Luck did play a part but this innings will be remembered for its brute strength and Gowtham's nonchalance at the crease.
There was also a not-so-little matter of picking up eight wickets in an innings to complete what was, and could potentially be for some time to come, his finest day in the office.
Brief scores: Ballari Tuskers 203 for 3 in 17 overs (Abhishek Reddy 34, K Gowtham 134 not out) vs Shivamogga Lions 133 all out in 16.3 overs (Akshay Ballal 41, Pavan Deshpande 45; K Gowtham 8-15) by 70 runs.