Panthers keep semi-final hopes alive
With both teams desperate for the win to keep their semi-final hopes alive, it was the Belagavi Panthers, who rose to the occasion and thrashed Shamanoor Davangere Diamonds by eight wickets. Having picked up the two points, it will be an agonising wait for Belagavi as the outcome of the Mysore Maharaajas-Bangalore Provident (Rural) clash will only be known tomorrow. If Mysore win, it could boil down to the net run-rate for the final semis spot. For Davangere, it will have to be the next season.
However, Belagavi captain J Arunkumar needed to win the game first, and he invited Davangere to bat. It was a disappointing start for Davangere, as Man of the Match R Madhusudan rocked them early on. Just when a 41-run stand between K Bipin and captain Sunil Joshi looked to have got them back in contention, Madhusudan send back Bipin. When Joshi departed, the score was 98 for 7, and it was wicketkeeper Muralidharen Gautam's cameo 22 that helped them end on 119.
Opener Manish Pandey played the lead role during the chase, scoring a fluent unbeaten fifty. He combined well with Shyam Ponnappa, and the two put on 84 for the second wicket to bat Davangere out of the match. Pandey was more aggressive, smashing two boundaries and three sixes during his 43-ball 55, while Ponnappa hit 44 off 40 balls, comprising one four and three sixes.
A poor batting performance from Bangalore Provident (Rural) against Malnad Gladiators cost them the opportunity of drawing level with Bangalore Brigadiers on top of the league. They struggled to 108 for 9 after choosing to bat in Mysore, a target which Malnad chased with eight wickets in hand and 16 balls to spare. Sunil Kumar Jain scored a run-a-ball 57 for Bangalore but none of the other batsmen made more than 11 and the last six were dismissed for single figures. Ryan Ninan was Malnad's best bowler, claiming 4 for 19 in four overs. Malnad lost their openers early during the chase - Ganesh Satish was hit wicket to Rangnath Darshan - but Kunal Kapoor hit a 51-ball 62 to secure victory. Malnad are currently sixth in the points table after winning only two of their seven games. Bangalore are No. 2 with eight points and have a game in hand.