Mangalore United marched into the final of the Karnataka Premier League with a convincing 44-run victory over Shamanoor Davangere Diamonds in the first semi-final, courtesy a 139-run opening stand between Rohit Sabharwal and Bharat Chipli.
The duo thrashed the Davangere bowlers to all corners of the ground, their partnership taking only 89 deliveries. Sabharwal, the Mangalore captain, was the more aggressive, taking 44 balls for his 78 which included five sixes and seven fours. Chipli made a 52-ball 70 with three sixes and six fours. There was no respite for Davangere after the openers were dismissed, as Rongsen Jonathan's cameo took them past the 200-run mark. Left-arm spinner Prasana Patil's two wickets cost him 48 runs as Mangalore raced to the highest total of the this year's tournament thus far.
The pressure of the chase proved to be too much for Davangere as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Six of the seven batsmen who got into double-figures fell before reaching 20. Only Sunil Joshi, the captain, resisted with an unbeaten 51 off 38, which included three sixes. Joshi lifted his side from the depths of 105 for 7 to 157, but there was no doubt about which team was going into the final. Sabharwal rounded off a memorable batting display by snaring six dismissals behind the stumps, including two stumpings.
Bangalore Provident (Rural) set up a final clash with Mangalore, thrashing Malnad Gladiators by six wickets with 16 balls to spare in the second semi-final.
The Provident openers Thilak Naidu and MK Manjunath gave their side a strong start in their chase of 158. Naidu hit six fours and a six in his 35-ball 44 while Manjunath was more guarded at the other end. After the duo were dismissed, B Akhil, the captain, hammered three sixes in his unbeaten 45 off only 22 deliveries as Provident sealed the victory with ease. Offspinner K Gowtham went for 42 runs in three overs.
Tight bowling from Provident's troika of left-arm spinners, Arjun Shetty, Sarfaraz Ashraf and Anand Katti had earlier helped them restrict Malnad to 157 for 5. Opener Sanjay Kumar had played well for his 47 off 38 balls before falling to Shetty. However, wicketkeeper KC Avinash, who came in at No 3, got stuck, and was eventually stumped after having taken 30 deliveries for his 21. Ganesh Satish, the captain, restored some momentum before Raju Bhatkal smashed an unbeaten 12-ball 26. Unfortunately for Malnad, it wasn't enough.