With the royalty in attendance, Mangalore United captain Samarth R put on a top-drawer show with the bat, helping his side defeat Hubli Tigers by 8 wickets at the Srikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wadiyar Ground, Mysore, in the opening game of the Maharaja Trophy on Sunday.  

The Maharaja Trophy KSCA T20, organised by the Karnataka State Cricket Association was officially declared open by HRH Maharani of Mysuru Pramoda Devi during an exciting opening ceremony on Sunday afternoon. At the opening ceremony, present along with the KSCA officials including President and 1983 World Cup winner Roger Binny, were the six captains Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal, K Gowtham, Abhimanyu Mithun, Karun Nair and Samarth R.  

Asked to bat first, in overcast overhead 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 3 sixes along with 2 boundaries during his knock while Tushar also got 34, with a boundary and two sixes to his name. Tushar was the fifth wicket to fall, in the 15th over with the score at 92, and Hubli looking for a strong finish. However, no one got into double figures after that as Shishir Bhavane (9), Abhimanyu Mithun (2), Rohan Naveen (2), V Koushik (9*), Anand Doddamani (4) and Zahoor Farooqi (5*) all failing in their mission to accelerate, leading Hubli to 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 would have to chase 112 in 18 overs, and they lost Macneil Noronha (6) in the 3rd over, before Samarth R 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 8th over, Mangalore were on 56/1, 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 found the much-needed breakthrough, as he had Nikin caught for 23. Nikin and Samarth put on a 67-run stand, putting their side in a commanding position. Samarth brought up his fifty with a classy six off Naveen as Mangalore continued to motor along despite the wicket.    

Samarth finished unbeaten on 57 as Abhinav Manohar, who finished things off with a one-handed six, was not out on 25. Mangalore completed the chase with 2 overs to spare.  

Brief Scores: Hubli Tigers – 119/9 (Liyan Khan – 34, Tushar Singh – 34, HS Sharath – 2/17, Vijaykumar Vyshak – 2/23) lost by 8 wickets to Mangalore United – 114/2 after 12 overs (Samarth R – 57*, Abhinav Manohar – 25*, Abhimanyu Mithun – 1/20, Zahoor Farooqi – 1/24)

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