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The Comeback Game - 25/09/2017

Nitanti Alur

The Warriors bid adieu to their home town and were all set to start the second half of the Karnataka Premier League in Hubli. A new ground with a lot more excitement and adventure. Practicing hard in the nets, the Warriors were looking out to make a comeback after the last two matches.

Karun Nair, who was back as the Warrior skipper; after his brilliant batting during the Duleep trophy, left his side on the losing end of the spectrum; but the skipper was happy to be home and back with the Warriors all set to take on the Hubli Tigers.

The coin was in Hubli Tigers skipper, Vinay Kumar’s hand, and the Warriors had won the toss. They chose to field first in the hopes of restricting the Tigers to a manageable total. The Warriors bowlers kept things tight and did not allow the Tigers to hit as freely as they wanted; the pressure was building for the Tigers when Mayank Agarwal stepped in and sent the ball beautifully over the park.

Mayank unleashed the drives and flicks beautifully as he stayed in the center when people at the other end were falling quickly. He brought up his fifty off just 29 balls, before Suchith finally had him dismissed with a slower ball. The scoring slowed down thereafter, despite the best efforts of Vinay to make 21 runs from 17 balls and Rohith Gowda, whose unbeaten 14 runs from 9 balls took the total past the 150-mark.

With an excellent bowling effort from each of the Warrior bowlers picking up a wicket; Vyshak Vijaykumar stood out with 2 wickets for 29 runs in his 4 overs. The Warriors now had to perform with the bat.

The Warriors seemed to struggle initially and the Tigers broke with the big wicket by running out the skipper, Karun Nair on 15. Hoysala assiduously sealed up one end and looked to pick the gaps, but wickets continued to fall at the other end where KC Avinash fell to M Kranthi Kumar for just 1 run and the important Sunil Raju holed out of Rithesh Bhatkal after just adding 11 runs. Halfway through the innings and the Warriors were 58 for 3 needing 93 runs off the next 10 overs.

In the 12th over, it seemed Hubli had changed gears. There were two sixes, one each by Hoysala and Bhareth, but when Harish found a way past Hoysala’s slog and clattered his stumps, Hubli were back in front; but Bhareth wasn’t done yet. He tilted things back the Warriors way in the 13th over, picking 21 runs off Dubey, a burst of big-hitting that comprised sixes and fours. It reduced the required rate to 54 runs from 42 balls.

Bhareth stuck on and played his shots with ease and talent in the center, joined by Shreyas Gopal, the run rate for the Warriors reduced drastically. Soon enough, the Tigers got their other break by sending Bhareth back after his half century. Shreyas had to depart for 19 after being bowled by Kranthi Kumar in the next over.

The Warriors needed 10 runs of the last over with two new batsmen at the crease, it could be anyone’s game. Manjunath, the Warrior finisher and Suchith, the Warrior all-rounder had to work some magic. The over started off strong with a 4 from Manjunath but Suchith had to depart for 2 runs after being caught by Ritesh Bhatkal.

With two deliveries left and five runs needed, Manjunath was on strike. Bhatkal's delivery was swung over long on for a six, sealing the Warriors victory. The Warriors dugout erupts and the players came charging out in jubilation. All credit to Manjunath for coming in and sealing the victory but the stand out Warrior star was Bhareth NP, “I didn't have anything in mind. After the last match, I told the coach that I felt confident to bat up the order. Wasn't easy to start, had to take time.”

“We started slow with the bat. I had complete confidence because he (Bhareth) had played with me for Mangalore United as well. I just felt that he hadn't got enough batting before today. We just have to take it game by game. It's all about momentum.” said the Skipper, but at the end of the day a win is a win.

With new confidence and more glory, the Warriors look to move up the table from 4th place and play a brilliant final league match and advance to the semifinals. The Men in Yellow stood out and showed what true Warriors they are.

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