Tigers maul Panthers in opener


Put into bat, the Panthers found it hard to score at a good rate and settled for 127 for eight in the stipulated 20 overs. Barring southpaw Sunil Kumar Jain, who showed some character to eke out an unbeaten 39 (34b, 5x4, 1x6), none of the Belagavi batsmen stood out. The pace-spin duo of skipper R Vinay Kumar (2/19) and Abhishek Sakuja (2/11) kept things tight early on and left-arm spinner Ritesh Bhatkal applied the brakes in the middle overs (2/12).

The Panthers however fought back to leave the Tigers in a spot of bother at 45 for three after the end of eight overs. However, Siddharth (61 n.o., 51b), who looked a bit edgy in the beginning, stitched a match-winning stand of 54 runs with Vinay. Siddharth punished the overpitched deliveries from the pacers and stepped out to the spinners in a knock laced with four hits to the fence and two maximums. Vinay, no mug with the bat, made a vital 22 (19b, 3x4).

Earlier, the Panthers were in trouble in the very first over, when opener BR Sharath played across the line to be trapped in front to give Vinay his first wicket. Promoted up the order, K Gowtham (13) began well with a six over mid-on off David Mathais. However Mathias hit back when he dismissed the right-hander leg before wicket off the very next ball. The two early wickets jolted the Panthers but the Tigers couldn’t afford to relax thanks to the presence of Mir Kaunain Abbas (15) in the middle. However, Abbas failed to execute a slog sweep off left-arm spinner Sakuja and was caught at deep-midwicket. Boundaries were hard to come by for the S Arvind-led side and they scored just around six runs per over in the first half of the innings.

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