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A fight to the finish - 25/09/2017


Nitanti Alur

It was back to back games for the Warriors as they came out onto the field on Sunday evening after their first loss of the 2017 KPL season and were prepared to bounce back. With a stadium full of Yellow jerseys, the Warriors had the home ground advantage and a packed crowd cheering them on. Winning the toss, Suneel opted to bat and set the target for the defending champions Ballari Tuskers to chase. It was crucial for the Warriors to come back and redeem themselves with a perfect start.

They got off to a slow start, managing just 32 runs in the powerplay overs after losing KC Avinash, who scored a run-a-ball 23 and Vinit Yadav who was sent back to the dugout for 3 runs in consecutive overs. The Men in Yellow seemed to miss the services of Karun Nair, the captain who was called away on Duleep Trophy duty, after opting to bat.

However, Suneel Raju walked into the middle and it was like Karun never left. Raju and Arjun Hoysala added a quick 27-runs, Hoysala was on 23 and going on the attack while he allowed Raju to settle in. By the end of the 11th over though, Mysuru were at 60 for 3 and desperately needed to attack.

It was then that the skipper took charge and shifted gears and sent Anil IG’s delivery into the deep-midwicket stands at the end of the 12th over. Verma faced the similar treatment by Suneel. Though Shrijith KL (Raju’s partner at the crease) who was on 16 was bowled by Zahoor Faroqui. The run rate for the Warriors was on an upward curve and soon enough the skipper reached his half century in just 39 balls.

Faroqui and Verma were both taken to the cleaners in the subsequent overs, as Suchith and Manjunath came in and left in an attempt to increase the score. Eventually Suneel remained unbeaten at 78 with a strike rate of 152.94. His efforts helped Mysuru add 101 runs in their last nine overs and make up for a slow start; Ultimately allowing the Warriors to finish their 20 overs with a total of 160/6.

Putting up a decent total of 161, all the Warriors had to do was bowl good lengths and take regular wickets; the ball was in their court now. The Warriors got an early break as they sent Rohan Kadam back for just 2 runs. What came as a result of this early break was something the Warriors did not expect, a brilliant partnership between B Pawan and Amit Verma and it looked like the Tuskers had built a good enough platform.

They ensured there was at least a boundary every over, and by then the Warriors sixth over went for 16 runs as both batsmen lifted sixes and by the eighth over, the total had been boosted past the 60-run mark.

Like any other game, things can change in an instant and that’s what happened, wickets kept falling like dominos. Verma who was on 29 was trapped in front off J Suchith, attempting to play one across the line and Pawan followed soon after, dumbfounded by a Shreyas Gopal googly.

Gautam and Kunal Kapoor attempted to revive the innings, but Kapoor soon fell to another Shreyas googly. At this stage, the Tuskers needed 92 runs in their remaining 9 overs. Gautam took charge with Manohar joining him for company. Gopal’s success was limited in his third over, both batsmen tonking him for sixes and the Tuskers kept this on. Manohar took on Suchith in his next over, while at the other end Gautam charged at Bhareth. The Warriors were looking for another break, but this was not coming easily.

The 17th Over came soon enough and the ball was in Vyshak’s hand. Manohar claimed back-to-back boundaries, one of them a huge six into the stands to reduce the required rate. SL Akshay tried his luck next but his deliveries were sent for a few boundaries as well. The Warriors toiled hard, but by the time they broke through, Manohar had fetched more runs off another Vyshak over and the damage had already been done.

Gautam fittingly scored the winning runs with a four towards third man, and the defending champions had their first win. The Warriors fought hard but sometimes fights can go in vain. The Warriors gave it their all, but unfortunately their best wasn’t good enough. As the Warriors bid adieu to their home town, Mysuru, they look at coming back stronger in Hubli.


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