Bengaluru: Hubli Tigers rode on a fine bowling performance by leg-spinner Mahesh Patel (picture above, right) to hand last season’s runner-up Bijapur Bulls a four-wicket defeat in a Karnataka Premier League (KPL) 2018 clash at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday night (August 16).

Also read: Full schedule of KPL 2018

Having restricted the Bulls to a modest 128 for 7 from their 20 overs, thanks to Patel’s telling spell, the Tigers got home in the 19th over with opener Mohammed Taha (62, 50b, 8x4, 1x6) holding the fort for most part even as wickets fell in a heap at the other end.

A couple of dropped chances and a missed wicket thanks to a no-ball, Taha escaping on 45 when leggie KC Kariappa overstepped, didn’t help the Bijapur Bulls’ cause. Taha’s needless run out in the 18th over brought the Bulls back into the game but the Hubli late-order held on to see the win through. 

Also Read: KPL 2018: Victorious homecoming for Robin Uthappa as Bengaluru Blasters thrash Belagavi Panthers

Earlier, the evening started with players of both teams and the match officials observing a minute’s silence for former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away today and former Indian captain Ajit Wadekar, who died on Wednesday night.

Later, the Bulls struggled to get going despite a reasonable start as they slipped from 38 for 1 in the six Power Play overs to 57 for 4 at the end of the 10th over. Skipper Vinay Kumar had begun it with his first over dismissal of opener Shishir Bhavane but it was leggie Patel who made the difference.

Getting a fair bit of turn off the track he first had an advancing Anurag Bajpai stumped easily by wicketkeeper Nitin Bhille with the first delivery of his second over. Two balls later, Bulls captain Bharath Chipli (25, 29, 2x4, 2x6) who had just slammed a huge six off left-arm spinner Anil I, holed out to long on.

Then off his final over Patel had all-rounder Suneel Raju caught at third man to end with figures of 4-0-16-3.

The Bulls’ back was well and truly broken and despite a fair bit of depth in their batting line-up, no real headway could be made.

Number seven batsman MG Naveen slammed four sixes in a 25-ball unbeaten 44 to help push the total somewhat but it was never going to be enough. Their bowlers did fight it though.

Brief scores: Bijapur Bulls: 128/7 in 20 overs (Bharath Chipli 29, Naveen MG 44; Anil IG 2-28, Mahesh Patel 3-16) lost to Hubli Tigers: 131/6 in 18.5 overs (Mohammed Taha 62; Suneel Rahu 2-21) by 4 wkts. 

Friday’s match (August 17)

Bengaluru Blasters vs Ballari Tuskers; 6.40 pm, M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

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