Provident and Panthers set up title clash
Bangalore Brigadiers (Urban), much like Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, were knocked out of the KPL Cup after topping the table in the league stage. Belagavi Panthers booked their place in the finals with a 15-run win at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and they owed it the all-round effort of R Vinay Kumar (54 and none for 9 in four overs), seamer David Johnson's 4 for 38, and opening batsman Jagadeesh Arunkumar's quickfire 60. Chasing a target of 160, the Brigadiers fought hard through M Vinod (47 off 27) and David Mathias (20 off 12), but the others failed to support the pair as their team slid to defeat.
Asked to bat, the Panthers suffered an early setback, but Arunkumar and Vinay Kumar were unperturbed, adding 94 in just 56 balls to put their team on course. Vinay Kumar was ruthless, smacking three fours and three sixes in his 40-ball effort. Vinayak Uthappa chipped in with a 21-ball 32, but the Panthers experienced a slight wobble at the death, losing four wickets for 18 to be restricted to a competitive total.
The Brigadiers start was encouraging, with CB Karthik and Nishant Shekhawat adding 32 for the opening stand. But the next five wickets fell for 48, including three wickets for two runs at one stage, and the Brigadiers lost the plot. Vinod and Mathias tried to revive their prospects with a 41-run stand for the sixth wicket but Johnson ripped through the lower order to seal victory in the final over.
In the other semi-final, medium-pacer Sunil Kumar starred with 3 for 6 to guide Bangalore Provident to a 20-run win over Bijapur Bulls and a place in the final.
Chasing 154, Bijapur were battling hard through a 41-run seventh-wicket stand between Stuart Binny and Jayprakash Shetty. With two overs to go, Bijapur needed 26 more, something the big-hitting Binny was capable of doing. However, Sunil removed Binny with the first ball of the penultimate over, and bowled Shetty two balls later to effectively end the contest. Sunil had also accounted for the dangerous opener, Gaurav Dhiman (14 off 7), in the second over.
The other Provident bowler to make a big impact was left-arm spinner Sarfraz Ashraf. He initially removed the top-order pair of Mithun Beerala and Sudhindra Shinde (who were allegedly involved in a scuffle after Monday's match) to stem the Bijapur charge.
Earlier, after choosing to bat, Provident struggled to get any momentum, crawling to 77 for 4 in the 12th over. Cameos from B Akhil (24 off 10) and Aniruddha Joshi (30 off 16, three sixes) pushed them to a total that ensured both Bangalore teams weren't knocked out on the same day.