KPL 2017: 5 star performers of the season
The Karnataka Premier League 2017 recently concluded with the Belagavi Panthers claiming their first-ever title victory after a complete show against the Bijapur Bulls.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the KPL has given a huge platform for young talent to blossom while sharing the same air as some experienced cricketers and this year was no different.
While the eight teams in the competition fought out tooth-and-nail, there were some noteworthy performances from the experienced players in each squad.
Here are five stars who have enjoyed a good KPL 2017 season.
#5 Bharath Chipli (Bijapur Bulls)
Matches- 8| Runs- 174| Average- 21.75| Strike Rate- 124.28.
The Bijapur Bulls skipper was at the top of his game for almost the entirety of the whole season and forged important partnerships with Mohammad Taha to get the Bulls off to good starts.
After losing out on good starts against Mysuru and the Bengaluru Blasters, Chipli came into his element with an important 35-ball 63 run knock that led Bijapur to an important win. Following the match-winning performance, the right-hander notched up his second fifty of the tournament against the Belagavi Panthers with a 52-ball 68 run knock laced with 3 sixes and 8 fours which earned him the man of the match award.
With important little contributions in other matches apart from leading the side fabulously well into the finals, Chipli ended the tournament with 174 runs from 8 matches.
#4 Abhishek Sakuja (Hubli Tigers)
Matches- 7| Wickets- 14| Bowl.Avg- 9.5| Economy- 5.32.
With a penchant for stemming the flow of runs and picking wickets at crucial junctures, Abhishek Sakuja's four overs proved crucial for the Tigers in each of their games. Right from the first match against Belagavi, Sakuja shone with the ball and consistently picked wickets.
Against the Bengaluru Blasters, the left arm spinner picked three wickets for just 20 runs in his four overs and followed it up with 2/35 against Namma Shivamogga. His best performance came against Bijapur when he absolutely flummoxed the batsmen with a testing spell of 4/21 from his allotted overs.
In the Tigers' final league game, Sakuja's 2/13 off three overs proved vital as they qualified for the semifinals. In the semis, Sakuja restricted the Belagavi Panthers with an economical spell and picked a wicket which saw him end the tournament with 14 wickets from 7 games and also won the 'Purple Cap' for most number of wickets in the tournament.
#3 Abhimanyu Mithun (Bijapur Bulls)
Matches- 8|Wickets- 9|Bowl.Avg- 21.66|Economy- 7.54| Bat.Avg- 43|Strike Rate- 182.97.
Pacy and accurate, Mithun's experience of playing the IPL and for India came to the fore as the pacer made a serious impact this season. Not only did he shine with the ball, Mithun also made his bat talk and made the most use of the long handle.
Mithun picked a brace in both of the Bulls first two matches and in the rain-curtailed match against the Bengaluru Blasters, Mithun did commendably well to help Bijapur defend the target by picking up a wicket and giving away just nine runs from two overs, something that earned him the man of the match award.
In the semifinals against Namma Shivamogga, the quick starred with the bat, helping Bijapur claw their way from the jaws of defeat and book a spot in the finals with a quickfire 12-ball 32* with two fours and two sixes.
#2 Mayank Agarwal (Hubli Tigers)
Matches- 7| Runs- 265| Average- 44.17| Strike Rate- 133.83
Opening the innings for the Hubli Tigers, Mayank Agarwal was a force to reckon with owing to his aggressive style of play. The right-hander did not have the greatest of starts to the tournament but right after his 92-run onslaught on Namma Shivamogga, there was no turning back.
Agarwal blasted the bowlers all over the park in the knock that included 6 fours and 5 sixes, which also earned him the man of the match award. Against Bijapur, he got off to a good start to get his confidence going which showed in the next game against the Mysuru Warriors when he notched up his second half-century, a 46-ball 68 run that set the platform for the Tigers.
In their final league game, Agarwal scored 35, and in the semifinals, the opener looked to go big early and played a cameo knock of 16 from 9 balls that took his tally to 265 runs from seven games that earned him the 'Orange Cap' for most runs in KPL 2017.
#1 Stuart Binny (Belagavi Panthers)
Matches- 8|Runs- 241| Bat.Avg- 60.25| Strike Rate- 138.5|Bowl.Avg- 21.5|Wickets- 8|
In the first game against Hubli, Binny partnered Arvind with the new ball and picked two wickets for just 25 runs, while in the next game against Bengaluru, Binny blasted his way to a 46-ball 87 with eight fours and five sixes. He backed it up with two wickets to rightfully earn the man of the match award.
He continued his rich vein of form against Mysuru wherein he notched up his second fifty of the tournament off just 28 balls and also picked two wickets to pick his second consecutive man-of-the-match award.
After a rare failure against Bellary, he was back in his element against Bijapur with an important half-century. His consistency rubbed off on the youngsters in the team as well. Binny was named the 'Player of the Series' at the end of the tournament.