R Vinay Kumar and Mohammad Taha demolished a demoralised Bengaluru Blasters here on Tuesday to take Hubli Tigers to the playoffs of the Redmi Karnataka Premier League, powered by Dream11.
Tigers, fifth on the table with four points before this contest, needed to win with a good net run-rate to upstage Mysuru Warriors for a spot in the final four.
Vinay and Taha delivered on both counts, smashing an unbeaten 81 and 48 respectively in a 105-run second-wicket stand to guide the Tigers to 164 for 3 in 17.4 overs in response to Blasters’ 158 for 9 in 20 overs.
After this seven-wicket win at the SDNR Wadiyar stadium, the Tigers (NRR: -0.282) moved to third ahead of the Shivamogga Lions (NRR: -0.848). The Warriors, although with the same number of points as the Lions with a better net run rate of -0.349, have won one less match than the Lions.
Meaning, even if the Lions did lose their final league engagement against Bijapur Bulls later in the day, they would’ve gone through on number of wins.
As a result, the Warriors became the third team to crash out of the tournament after the Bulls and the Blasters.
In a game which had much riding on it, the Tigers were in full roar after opting to bowl under a cover of grey. David Mathias was the villain for the Blasters as the paceman picked up four wickets but it was Shreyas Gopal’s figures of 1 for 14 in four overs that truly hampered Blasters’ target-setting exercise.
Blasters, down 90 for 6, received a rain reprieve at 4:02 pm. Forty-eight minutes were lost to the shower and subsequent ground preparation, but no overs were lost.
After the break, the Blasters lost a couple of wickets and stuttered to 99 for 8 in 14.1 overs when Bharath Dhuri decided to chance his swing. The No.8 smashed four sixes and a boundary en route to 42 from 30 balls. Blasters scored 59 runs from the last 35 balls to give themselves a decent chance in the contest.
It looked even better when V Koushik dismissed Luvnith Sisodia in the opening over. But once Vinay, the Tigers’ skipper, and Taha started connecting, the game was as good as done. So much so that even Taha’s dismissal with 33 needed from 41 balls didn’t bring a smile to skipper Jonathan Rongsen’s face.