Bangalore, August 17: Shivamogga Lions broke their jinx in the Redmi Karnataka Premier League powered by Dream 11, comfortably beating Hubli Tigers by six wickets here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.
The Lions, who hadn’t notched a single victory all of last season, rode on an impressive batting display from Nihal Ullal and an important performance from left-arm spinner Rishabh Singh to start this season on a different and positive note.
Chasing Hubli’s 154 all out, they reached the target with 12 balls to spare
Ullal was the cornerstone in Lions’ victory, scoring an unbeaten 88 runs from 60 balls with 11 fours and three sixes. Rishabh picked up three wickets for 19 runs.
The day’s first encounter began with R Vinay Kumar, the Tigers’ skipper, opting to bat after winning the toss. The pitch, still damp from overnight rain, was difficult to get runs on. The nature of the wicket gave Abhimanyu Mithun, the Lions skipper, the freedom to use three of his spinners even before the Power Play began.
The Tigers were stuttering at 53 for 3 by the ninth over until KB Pawan came up with a fluent 53 from 37 balls. That, coupled with KL Shrijith’s attacking 33, set them up for a big score.
But Rishabh, the left-arm spinner, picked up three wickets in the 19th over to end their innings abruptly. T Pradeep, too, finished with three wickets but unlike Rishabh, he gave away 47 runs.
Lions’ response was one of haste as Ullal and Arjun Hoysala (13) got going. Hoysala and Sujith N Gowda (1) got out in quick succession but Ullal kept going. The diminutive batsman was in wicked touch from the start, slaying bowlers with a firm head on his shoulders and plenty of time to spare.
With no obvious signs of weakness at Ullal’s end, the Tigers hoped for some reprieve at the other end. They got a bit of that when Pavan Deshpande (20) was dismissed by Aditya Somanna, but they were out of the contest by then.
Hubli Tigers 154 all out in 20 overs (KB Pawan 53, KL Shrijith 33; Pradeep T 3/47, HS Sharath 2/30, Rishabh Singh 3/19) lost to Shivamogga Lions (Nihal Ullal 88, Pavan Deshpande 20, Akshay Ballal 20; Mitrakant Yadav 2-26) by six wickets.