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The Report by Andrew Fidel Fernando
September 17, 2013
Otago Volts 142 for 2 (McCullum 83*, de Boorder 30*) beat Faisalabad Wolves 139 for 8 (Misbah 46, Butler 2-23) by 8 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A menacing opening burst from Otago Volts' fast bowlers and a well-measured mauling from Brendon McCullum delivered them an eight-wicket victory over Faisalabad Wolves, who failed to compete in any discipline. All four Otago's quicks bowled out, but none conceded more than 6.5 an over and shared seven wickets between them.
Misbah-ul-Haq the batsman might have his reputation embellished, after hitting a 34-ball 46 that ensured that there was a contest, but as a captain he will perhaps attract yet more scrutiny for misreading the Mohali pitch, and handing the opposition a clear advantage by batting first. McCullum's thoughtfully-constructed 83 not out from 65 made light work of Faisalabad's 139, and Otago reached their target with 13 balls to spare.
James McMillan might not even have played this match, had Jacob Duffy been fit, but his impact on the match was immediate and far reaching. Ammar Mahmood struck the first ball of the match powerfully for four, but could not get McMillan's first ball further than point, who knelt to take a straightforward catch.
That over cost one run and had reaped one wicket, and were it not for an inside edge off the last ball, McMillan's second over would have been no less impressive. Otago's seam collective wasted little of that early momentum, as they rarely veered far from the stumps in the early overs, and had Faisalabad hobbling at 34 for 3 in the eighth over.
With that dismally familiar scoreline beckoning Misbah to the crease, he rolled up his sleeves to launch another dutiful recovery, as he has done for Pakistan so many times in the last year. He found a like-minded partner in Khurram Shehzad, and the pair began reclaiming ground in steady shovelfuls at first, before Misbah felt he had the measure of the pace-friendly Mohali dirt.
A legside six off Nathan McCullum in the 12th over foreshadowed the aggression to follow, which would yield Faisalabad their most profitable over of the innings. In the 14th, Misbah walloped two more sixes and a four in the same cow-corner region, off the same bowler, hauling his side's run rate beyond six for the first time since the first over.
Though Khurram had clung on in Misbah's company to help forge a 61-run stand, he could not match his captain's attacking competence, and departed for 27 off 36, just as the innings might have moved into a phase of dominance, had he stayed around. Misbah's progress slowed, as Otago's disciplined pace bowlers returned in full force, and he was bowled making room to hit through the offside, off the last ball of the 17th over.
McCullum did not allow poor balls to go unpunished early in his innings, but atypically, he did not go looking for trouble either. Neil Broom had departed in the first over, and with a modest score to chase, a return of 16 from his first 20 balls did not seem to irk him. Three Hamish Rutherford sixes saw Otago eclipse the required rate in the Powerplay overs, and McCullum sought nothing more than to maintain that steady momentum for the majority of his innings.
Eventually he grew bold, after he and Derek de Boorder had put on more than 50 for the third wicket, and Faisalabad's efforts sagged as the game slipped from them. Having progressed to 50 at just under run-a-ball, McCullum took them home with a flurry of thumping hits, and secured a fine net-run-rate, should it be required further down the line.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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