Mangalore United captain R Samarth put on a top show with the bat, helping his side defeat Hubli Tigers by eight wickets at the Srikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wadiyar Ground in the opening match of the Maharaja KSCA T20 Trophy on Sunday.
Asked to bat first, in overcast conditions and a spongy wicket, the Hubli Tigers had a slow start, as they lost Naveen (1), Luvnith Sisodia (7) and BU Shiva Kumar (7) in the powerplay. Liyan Khan and Tushar Singh then steadied the ship, putting on a partnership of 38 runs for the fourth wicket, giving Hubli some momentum.
Liyan scored 34 and smashed three sixes along with two boundaries during his knock while Tushar also got 34, with a boundary and two sixes to his name. He was the fifth wicket to fall, in the 15th over with the score at 92. Hubli were looking for a strong finish but no one got into double figures after that rest of the batting order failed to accelerate, as Hubli made 119-9 in 20 overs.
For Mangalore United, HS Sharath and Vijaykumar Vyshak picked two wickets each, while Muralidhara Venkatesh, Rohit Kumar and Amit Verma bagged one wicket a piece. A rain delay meant Mangalore United were set to chase 112 in 18 overs under the VJD method, and they lost Macneil Noronha (6) in the 3rd over, before Samarth and Nikin Jose took charge. The captain was the more aggressive one in the partnership, finding the fence with relative ease.
Samarth's counter attack helped Mangalore reach 39-1 at the end of the powerplay, by when Nikin too had his confidence going after a stuttering start. And by the end of the eighth over, Mangalore were 56-1, with half the work done quite comfortably. In the next over, Nikin and Samarth brought up their fifty-run stand.
In the 12th over, Hubli captain Abhimanyu Mithun found the much-needed breakthrough, as he had Nikin caught for 23, ending the 67-run stand. Samarth went on to bring up his fifty with a classy six off Naveen. He finished unbeaten on 57 as Abhinav Manohar, who finished things off with a one-handed six, was not out on 25 as Mangalore completed the chase with two overs to spare.
Earlier, the tournament was officially declared open by HRH Maharani of Mysuru Pramoda Devi during an exciting opening ceremony, where KSCA officials, including President and 1983 World Cup winner, ex-India all-rounder Roger Binny, were present alongside the six captains Samarth, Mithun, Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal, K Gowtham and Karun Nair.
Brief Scores: Hubli Tigers 119-9 in 20 overs (Liyan Khan 34, Tushar Singh 34, HS Sharath 2-17, Vijaykumar Vyshak 2-23) lost to Mangalore United 114-2 in 16 overs (R Samarth 57 not out, Abhinav Manohar 25 not out, Abhimanyu Mithun 1-20, Zahoor Farooqi 1-24) by eight wickets
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