Panthers ride high on Pandey century
Manish Pandey blitzed 112 to help Belagavi Panthers continue their successful form with a 13-run win against Mangalore United in a high-scoring contest. Pandey was in an unforgiving mood and it turned out to be one-way traffic for Panthers once opener J Arun Kumar departed. Pandey's second-wicket stand of 160 with Shyam Ponnappa looked to have effectively ended Mangalore's hopes, as the two tore into the opposition bowling to take Belagavi to a mammoth 201.
Pandey smashed 14 fours and four sixes during his 62-ball unbeaten innings, while Ponnappa contributed a whirlwind 72, which included two fours and six sixes. It was a sorry bowling card for Mangalore, with Azghar Pasha conceding 15.66 per over.
However, Mangalore's response was strong, with wicketkeeper RK Sabharwal leading the charge. He compiled 51 off 31 balls, hitting seven fours and two sixes, and was involved in key partnerships to keep Mangalore in the hunt. But two crucial strikes from Ramling Patil pegged them back before Zeshan Syed accounted for two more middle-order batsmen. Udit Patel scored a brave 38 but it was not enough to save Mangalore from their third defeat.
Bangalore Provident (Rural) recovered from their defeat against Bangalore Brigadiers to beat Bijapur Bulls by six wickets in a closely-fought contest. Bangalore Provident's chase was built on a 118-run second-wicket stand between Thilak Naidu and Amit Verma and they reached home with four balls to spare.
After choosing to bat, Bijapur were buoyed by Gaurav Dhiman's fiery 57 at the top of the order. Having hit seven fours and three sixes during his 35-ball innings, he passed the baton on to Sudhindra Shinde. Shinde was largely responsible for Bijapur's emphatic late charge, smashing five fours and a six to get to 61 off 42 balls, with Bangalore Provident captain Balachandra Akhil and his seamers failing to keep them below the 160-mark.
The departure of opener Maniunath Manjunath for a duck in the very first over did not bode well for Bangalore Provident but Naidu and Verma ensured there would be no more hiccups for a long time. While Verma missed a deserved half-century by a run, having hit five boundaries, Naidu finished with a breezy 63, comprising seven fours and a six. It was perhaps a little too late for Jayprakash Shetty (3 for 25), who dismissed them both, as Sunil Kumar Jain then took Bangalore Provident over the line.