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A fight for the Semis - 25/09/2017


NitantiAlur

Dark clouds hovering all over the KSCA Hubli Stadium on Tuesday Afternoon, the Men in Yellow walked into the stadium ready to take on NammaShivamogga. The KSCA Hubli ground was all set for a fight to the finish.

With only two teams having already qualified for the semi- final and two spots up for grabs, the teams were ready to do whatever it takes to take home a win and enter the semi-finals for the 2017 Karnataka Premier League. Rain delayed the toss and the players were praying to the heavens asking Zeus to turn the rains away for a few hours.

The coin was flipped and the Men in Yellow were ready to go out and bowl and restrict NammaShivamogga to an average total. The Warriors surprisingly opened the bowling with their left arm spinner Suchith, but it was Akshay who got the Warriors their first wicket. Kazi and SadiqKirmani struggled to put away the boundaries, pinned back by excellent Mysuru bowling. The odd boundary did offer release, but after five overs, Shivamogga had just 27 for 1.

Kazi was in form and ready to make a mark; being dropped twice on 10 and 11, he wanted to get Shivamogga to a great score. The Warriors brought in Vyshak in the sixth over and finally Kazi had to depart at the hands of Suchith, holding on to a tough catch at point.

However, rain intervened soon after, forcing the players back in. The interlude was brief, but it helped Shivamogga collect themselves, and Jonathan, the new-man, took charge, putting on crucial partnerships with Kirmani and Manager. Jonathan; last season’s Warrior took some time to settle in but finally started hitting back to back boundaries off Kaushik. Shivamogga was back in the game but Kirmani had to soon depart at the hands of Suchith.

Jonathan’s partner, Shohib Manager soon settled in and joined the attack. The two added a further 50 runs for the fourth wicket, Manager taking the role of aggressor with sixes off Kaushik and NP Bhareth. The 100-run mark was brought up in 16.1 overs. Bhareth soon enough trapped Jonathan while attempting a sweep.

Shohib Manager was soon holed off by Akshay for 38; it seemed like Shivamogga was in trouble at this point but a 6-ball 16 from captain AkhilBalachandra helped them post a defendable total. It was now the Men in Yellow’s turn to enter the middle with the bat; make those big hits and enter the semi Finals.

The Warriors were in trouble before they even realized it, as ArjunHoysala had to depart on the first ball of the innings. In the next over, KC Avinash miscued one off AdityaSomanna, the paceman and was sent back for just 3 runs. Shivamogga struck again by picking up the biggie, Karun Nair, popped an easy catch to mid-on off a fuller delivery later that same over. The Warriors were 6 for 3 in three overs.

Somanna kept troubling the batsman, probing that corridor outside off. ShreyasGopal and Sunil Raju decided to plug the fall of wickets, and played risk-free cricket, adding 21 for the fourth wicket. However, at the first attempt to hit big, Gopal holed out, sending AbrarKazi straight down to the fielder at long-on and walked back after just adding 14 runs.

Seven overs down and the Warriors were 30 for 4 and still needed 80 runs in 42 balls to advance to the semi-finals The chase was still within grasp, but one Kazi over changed it all. Raju who was on 15 runs tried to clear long-on, but ended up gifting a catch to the fielder and Bhareth NP was sent back soon after for being trapped in front.

The slow left-arm bowler, Sarfaraz Ashraf was into the attack and induced a nick off SP Manjunath in the next over. The Warriors were 42 for 7 and in need of a miracle. A miracle that didn’t come for the Warriors, their remaining players tried hard but were sent back too early in the game. The Match ended too soon with NammaShivamogga celebrating a huge victory and their entry into the Semi Finals.

At the end, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how hard you fight; and the Warriors fought hard till their last breath. The Men in Yellow bid adieu to the 2017 season with heavy hearts but will be back stronger in 2018.


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