ABOUT THE MATCH
Bellary Tuskers and Belagavi Panthers will bid for a place in the 2019 Karnataka Premier League final, when they meet at Mysore in the first qualifier on August 28.
The Tuskers, powered by Krishnappa Gowtham’s all-round form – including 201 runs at a strike rate if 216.12 and a stunning 19 wickets in six games – finished top of the table. They also beat the Panthers when they last met too.
Belagavi Panthers, however, have won their last three matches in a row to ensure they carry the most momentum into these playoffs. Manish Pandey has been key to the turnaround, though he did not play in the most recent match.
Belagavi Panthers won the toss and elected to field first when these teams last met. If fortune favors the Tuskers this time, they may choose to bat anyway on an excellent wicket.
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
The weather has not always been kind in this tournament but the Tuskers and Panthers should enjoy temperatures in the high 20s and a very low chance of rain for this play-off.
Mysore has served up an excellent batting wicket, with plenty of big scores since the tournament moved here. Chases of 200+ have not been unreasonable.
PROBABLE PLAYING XI OF Bellary Tuskers
Abhishek Reddy, Codanda Ajit Karthik, Devdutt Padikkal, Chidhambaram Gautam (c, wk), Krishnappa Gowtham, Zeeshan Ali, Abrar Kazi, Bhavesh Gulecha, Prasidh Krishna, KP Appanna, Vishnu Priyan
PROBABLE PLAYING XI OF Belagavi Panthers
Ravikumar Samarth, Stalin Hoover, Manish Pandey (c), Dikshansu Negi, Shubhang Hegde, Kaunain Abbas (wk), Abihnav Manohar, MB Darshan, Rithesh Bhatkal, D Avinash, Zahoor Farooqi
- Prasidh Krishna was rested last time out but will surely be back in the team this time out to co-lead the bowling attack with the superbly in-form Krishnappa Gowtham.
- After a rain-related loss to Bengaluru Blasters – reaching 55/5 after 8.2 overs in reply to 93/8 from 16 (a one-run VJD-method defeat) – Krishnappa Gowtham fired the Tuskers back to winning ways against Shivamogga Lions.
- He scored 134* and took 8-15 as the Tuskers posted 203/3 and the Lions were carted for 133. Last time out, Gowtham scored 48 in a total of 240/2 – Chidhambaram Gautam top-scored with 92* and Devdutt Padikkal hit 57* – but Mysuru Warriors somehow chased it down to win off the final ball.
- Gowtham took 4-28 but Padikkal conceded 16 runs from the final four balls as the Tuskers lost by three wickets.
- Arshdeep Singh stepped in for Manish Pandey last time out, and the Panthers will want their captain back for this play-off tie.
- After Singh, dropped for Stalin Hoover in the previous game, got out for a two-ball duck, it should be a straight swap back.
- Belagavi Panthers have won their last three Karnataka Premier League matches to end the group stage on a high.
- Manish Pandey hit unbeaten half-centuries in an eight-wicket win against Bengaluru Blasters and none-wicket victory against Shivamogga Lions.
- Though Stalin Hoover (108*) stole the show in the latter. Last time out, without Pandey, Shubhang Hegde, D Avinash, and MB Darshan all picked up two wickets as they restricted Bijapur Bulls to 136/8.
- Ravikumar Samarth’s overdue unbeaten half-century led the Panthers to a seven-wicket win with 2.2 overs to spare.
PROBABLE WINNING TEAM:
Bellary Tuskers topped the group with Krishnappa Gowtham ending the league phase in superb form. If he maintains that, the Tuskers will take some beating in the play-offs.
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