Bengaluru: Home team Bengaluru Blasters pulled off a Houdini type escape, not once but twice, in their Karnataka Premier League (KPL) 2018 match against Ballari Tuskers here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday night (August 17).

Cheered on by a vociferous crowd – both teams had their share of support - the hosts first recovered from a precarious 67 for 6 in the 11th over to post a healthy 167 for 8. Then staring at a possible defeat with Ballari needing 15 from eight balls and with number four batsman Abhinav Manohar very much in charge, struck crucial blows to seal a narrow six-run win.

Also read: KPL 2018 schedule

The Blasters total was mostly thanks to a most belligerent 34-ball 67 (1x4, 8x6) from number seven batsman Arshdeep Singh Brar. His seventh-wicket partner for 48 of those runs was Bharath Devraj, who contributed 19 from 20 balls.

Off-spinner Devraj, who approaches the crease with a series of hops, then came back with the ball to get rid of the promising Devdutt Paddikal and Rohan Kadam in his first over to set the Ballari chase back.

But three successive sixes by Manohar (61, 27b, 4x4, 5x6) off Pavan Deshpande in the 12th over marked the turnaround for Ballari. Opener Kadam had started off the chase with a brisk 31 (27b, 5x4) and Manohar all but finished it in style before falling to Manoj Bhandage in the 19th over, caught on the long off fence by that man Brar.

Earlier, Pradeep, a lanky medium pacer, did a James Anderson on the night. The stunned victim was Blasters skipper and star batsman Robin Uthappa, who could do nothing to the ball that came into him off the air and left him after pitching en route to disturbing the stumps.

That was a blow that the Blasters struggled to recover from and at 67 for 6 in the 11th over, looked all set to be bowled out for under 100. That’s when Brar, later named Man of the Match, took the attack to the Tuskers, combining the big hits with some clever ones.

One hit off left-arm spinner Abrar Kazi, over long off, almost sailed over the roof. Another off medium pacer Muthanna Nayak was hit over cover for six and in the penultimate over, the experienced SL Akshay was slammed over midwicket twice in a row.

Poor Pradeep (3-24) could only watch on as he had finished his quota. He couldn’t do much later too as his batsmen did their best but couldn’t get over the line.

Brief scores: Bengaluru Blasters: 167/8 in 20 overs (Arshdeep Singh Brar 67, Chethan William 22; T Pradeep 3-24) beat Ballari Tuskers: 161/8 in 20 overs (Rohan Kadam 31, Abhinav Manohar 61, Abrar Kazi 22; V Koushik 2-20, Manoj Bhandage 3-36, Bharath Devaraj 2-25) by 6 runs

No match on Saturday, August 18 – Rest Day

Sunday (August 19) – Hubli Tigers vs Shivamogga Lions, 6.45 pm, KSCA Rajnagar Stadium, Hubbali

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