Mysuru: Bijapur Bulls’ horrid run in the eighth edition of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL 2019) ended on a day their campaign came to a close as they defeated the higher-ranked Shivamogga Lions by 17 runs at the SDNR Wadiyar stadium on Tuesday (August 27).

The win ensured the Bulls, the defending champions, wouldn’t finish at the bottom of the table. With five points from six games, they went past Bengaluru Blasters to sixth on the seven-team table.   

For that small mercy, the Bulls have Rajoo Bhatkal (66) and Naveen MG (68) to thank as the duo completed fine half-centuries to take the side to 195 for 4 in 20 overs.

The Lions, in response, rode on an Arjun Hoysala blitz to give the crowd hopes of another big chase. They had, after all, only on Monday seen the Mysuru Warriors chase down 241 runs. But once Hoysala fell for 69 from 39 balls and M Nidhish (45 not out) ran out of able partners, they settled for 178/5 in 20 overs.    

Though this game was an inconsequential one since the Lions had already qualified for the playoffs post Hubli Tigers’ win earlier in the day, it was one that would decide the final positions on the points table. And since the Eliminator has been introduced this season, it was crucial for the Lions to win and well.

At the end of the league stage, the Tuskers finished on top of the table with eight points and Belagavi Panthers ended second with seven points. Shivamogga Lions and the Tigers finished with six points each. The Lions, however, finished third by virtue of their win over the Tigers in the Bengaluru leg of the tournament. 

In Wednesday’s (August 28) Qualifier 1, the Tuskers will take on Panthers at 7 pm, and the Lions will face the Tigers in the Eliminator on August 29.

Earlier in the day, R Vinay Kumar and Mohammad Taha demolished a demoralised Bengaluru Blasters to take Hubli Tigers to the playoffs.

Brief scores

Brief scores: Bijapur Bulls 195/4 in 20 overs (Rajoo Bhatkal 66, Naveen MG 68, Suneel Raju 36; Rishabh Singh 2/21) beat Shivamogga Lions 178/5 in 20 overs (Arjun Hoysala 69, M Nidhish 45 not out; KC Cariappa 2/27) by 17 runs.

Bengaluru Blasters 158/9 in 20 overs (Manoj S Bhandage 28, Bharath Dhuri 42; Aditya Somanna 2/36, David Mathias 4/30) lost to Hubli Tigers 164/3 in 17.4 overs (Mohammad Taha 48, R Vinay Kumar 81 not out) by seven wickets.

Playoffs schedule (all matches in Mysuru, star at 7 pm IST)

August 28 (Wednesday) : Qualifier 1: Ballari Tuskers (1) vs Belagavi Panthers (2)

August 29 (Thursday): Eliminator: Shivamogga Lions (3) vs Hubli Tigers (4) 

August 30 (Friday): Qualifier 2 (Loser of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Eliminator)

August 31 (Saturday): Final (Winner of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Qualifier 2)