25 Aug 2019
Stallin Hoover dictated the narrative in a mammoth chase at the SDNR Wadiyar stadium, bludgeoning an unbeaten century from 44 balls in Belagavi Panthers’ second successive win in the Redmi Karnataka Premier League, powered by Dream11.
Arriving in the City of Palaces for the opening game of the Mysuru leg, the Panthers were in trouble when they conceded 175 for 4 in 20 overs to Shivamogga Lions. But once the 30-year-old combined power with a heady dose of cheekiness en route to 108 from 50 balls – including the second-fastest KPL century after K Gowtham’s 39-ball ton, it was game over for the Lions.
Manish Pandey’s 25-ball 53 not out only hastened Lions’ downfall.
Panthers raced to 180 for 1 in 14.4 overs to notch a nine-wicket win to improve their chances of making it to the playoffs. They are currently third on the table with five points from as many games. Should they win their final league engagement against the Bijapur Bulls on Monday, they will make it to the knockout round. Not bad for a side which was at the bottom of the table only a few days ago.
While Hoover’s dominance and Pandey’s confidence hogged the limelight, one should spare a thought for Arjun Hoysala and Pavan Deshpande.
Notwithstanding a steady drizzle bearing down on the picturesque venue prior to the start of the game, Mysuru’s cricket faithful were in good attendance despite a 45-minute delay in proceedings. The vociferous crowd provided the ideal background score for the opening game of the Mysore leg. The sights and sounds only improved when Hoysala got going.
Hoysala, who hadn’t capitalised on consistent starts in the Bangalore leg, made it count this time around, scoring an aesthetic 77 from 58 balls. Deshpande, at the other end, shifted gears seamlessly to strike 59 from 35 at the other end in their 106-run third-wicket alliance. They would have assumed their partnership worthy of the headlines. To their dismay, it turned into a side note inside 10 overs of Panthers’ chase.
Panthers were blazing at 119 for 1 in 10 overs. It must be noted that 94 of those runs came off of Hoover’s willow.
Hoover’s presence on the day was such that even Pandey dedicated his knock to knocking it around, a far cry from his typical approach. That, however, didn’t stop him from scoring his third unbeaten knock of the tournament so far. Since arriving at the KPL from national duty, Pandey has scored 102, 58 and 53.
While none can understate Pandey’s brilliance, this day belonged to Hoover, and Hoover alone.