Mysuru: Runs on the board is very often the key in a knockout game but they forgot to tell that to Bharath Chipli and MG Naveen. Forced to chase in Wednesday’s (September 5) second semi-final of the Karnataka Premium League (KPL) 2018, after Hubli Tigers skipper R Vinay Kumar followed the norm of batting first in a pressure game, Chipli and his fellow opener Naveen made a mockery of the 135-run target.

Their forceful 125-run stand from just from 86 balls took them to a comprehensive nine-wicket victory and a shot at the title. The Bulls take on Bengaluru Blasters in the final on Thursday.

Ironically enough the start to the Hubli innings was actually better as indicated by their getting to 52/1 in the six Powerplay overs. At the same stage, Bijapur were 37 for no loss.

But that’s where the game changed as both Chipli (73, 46b, 9x4, 3x6) and Naveen (62 not out, 43b, 7x4, 3x6), riding on a few dropped chances as also some ferocious stroke play against pacers and spinners alike, turned on the heat.
Chipli fell in the 15h over but for once in the tournament there was to be no drama, the winning hit being a six from Naveen’s blade with 31 balls to spare.

Credit must also go to Bijapur bowlers who bowled their hearts out. From 52/1 in the first six Powerplay overs, openers Mohammed Taha (24, 19b, 3x4, 1x6) and Abhishek Reddy (42, 33b, 4x4, 1x6) doing the damage for Hubli, the Bulls fought back.

Two wickets for in-form left-arm spinner KP Appanna, including that of Taha in his opening over after being hit for two boundaries, led to only 17 runs coming off the next four overs.

Sixty nine for two became 99/4 at the end of the 15th with Bijapur dropping as many as five catches, but the expected last overs recovery almost didn’t come.

Fortunately, number seven Kranthi Kumar was around to use the long handle. It was his 14-ball, unbeaten 24 (1x4, 2x6) that gave the Tigers something to fight with. At least that’s what they thought at the halfway mark.

Brief scores: Hubli Tigers 134/7 in 20 overs (Mohammed Taha 24, Abhishek Reddy 42, Kranthi Kumar 24 not out; Naveen MG 2-36, KP Appanna 2-28) lost to Bijapur Bulls: 136/1 in 14.5 overs (Bharath Chipli 73, MG Naveen 62 not out) by 9 wickets.

Thursday (September 6) - Mysuru

Final – Bengaluru Blasters vs Bijapur Bulls - 6.40 pm

Live on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD and Hotstar