Mysuru, Aug 10 (IANS): Hubli Tigers' captain Abhimanyu Mithun was in fine touch, playing with panache, as he hammered 51 not out off 22 deliveries to lead his side over the line by four wickets via the VJD method against the Bengaluru Blasters in Maharaja KSCA T20 Trophy.
Just when all seemed lost, Mithun stepped up to the plate with an innings that will be long remembered for long, scoring a blistering half-century as Hubli Tigers chased down 137 to get their first win on board.
Pushed into batting first, Bengaluru Blasters lost LR Chethan in the second over, before captain Mayank Agarwal took charge, along with Aneesh KV. The duo put on a quick 18-run stand before Aneesh departed for 14.
Mayank had Suraj Ahuja (20) for company, and even though they found it tough to get the momentum going against the Hubli bowling, they put on 45 crucial runs, to give the Blasters a solid platform at the midway stage.
Mayank was starting to get his strokes going and it could have spelt danger for Hubli, who pegged the Blasters back with the wicket of Aniruddha Joshi (8). Restricted by the regular fall of wickets, the captain looked to up the ante but fell for 43, just as the team's 100-run mark was approaching.
Jagadeesha Suchith (12 not out) and Shivkumar Rakshith (15 not out) added a crucial 25 runs before rain forced an early close of the first innings. For the Tigers, Saurabh Srivastav picked a couple of wickets as the Blasters managed 119-5 in 16 overs.
Chasing 137 in 16 overs, the Tigers had a quiet start, losing Luvnith Sisodia, Liyan Khan and Tushar Singh in the first three overs of the innings. BU Shiva Kumar and Shishir Bhavane (16) steadied the ship over the next few overs, before the latter was dismissed looking to score quickly in the seventh over with the score on 48.
Shiva Kumar was the next to depart for 30, which meant Tigers had lost half their side. Sagar Solanki then added 13 more to the cause, keeping his side in the mix in what was turning out to be a thriller. But that's when Mithun got into the act and clobbered a couple of sixes in the 13th over, relieving some pressure for the Tigers who needed 50 runs off the last four overs.
Mithun continued to hammer the bowling, as the crowds and his team-mates cheered on. He won the match for his team in style in a game-changing knock where he hit five sixes and two boundaries, the second of which sealed a sensational win.
Brief Scores: Bengaluru Blasters 119/5 in 16 overs (Mayank Agarwal 43, Suraj Ahuja 20; Saurabh Srivastav 2-31) lost to Hubli Tigers 139/6 in 15.5 overs (Abhimanyu Mithun 51 not out, BU Shiva Kumar 30, Jagadeesha Suchith 2-21) by four wickets (VJD method)