Faisalabad Wolves v Otago Volts, CLT20 qualifier, Mohali September 16, 2013

International stars vie for main stage

The Preview by Rohan Sharma

Match Facts

September 17, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big Picture

The first match of the qualifying round is significant for both teams because Faisalabad Wolves are making their Champions League debut, and Otago Volts, after failing to qualify for any of the previous editions since the inaugural tournament in 2009, get another crack. After some uncertainty as to whether Faisalabad would feature in the tournament, the first qualifier will go ahead as planned.

Faisalabad possess a number of key players who could help propel their campaign into the group stage. They are led by Misbah-ul-Haq, who has enjoyed a consistent run of good form in limited-overs cricket over the past eighteen months. They also have one of the most dangerous spinners in the game in Saeed Ajmal, whose personal performance will help determine how far Faisalabad progress in the tournament. Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali's limited international experience will hold them in good stead as they round off a decent bowling attack.

Otago come in as one of the tournament's surprise packages. Led by Derek de Boorder, the squad consists of a number of former and current international players. Brendon McCullum, whose T20 exploits are well known, is a key figure. With Ian Butler, Neil Wagner and Nathan McCullum as well, Otago have an attack that can compete against some of the more illustrious sides in the tournament. They will, however, be without their Netherlands allrounder, Ryan ten Doeschate, who is still tied up with commitments for Essex, at least for the first game.

Players to watch

Brendon McCullum will forever be associated with Twenty20 cricket. He smashed an unbeaten 158 in the inaugural match of the IPL in 2008, and an audacious 116* against a fiery Australian attack that included some scoops off the 150kph Shaun Tait. On his day, McCullum can take apart any international attack. The bowling partnership between Nick Beard and Jacob Duffy will also play a vital role as they tied for first on the wicket-takers' list at the HRV Cup - 15 each. How they fare on flatter Indian pitches will be an indicator of Otago's chances.

Asif Ali finished as the third leading run-scorer in the Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cup. He scored 152 runs in five innings at an average of 50.66 and strike rate of 129.91. In the tournament final, he was involved in a match-turning partnership with Misbah after Sialkot Stallions had reduced Faisalabad to 79 for 3 in the 13th over. The pair put on 79 in 46 balls, which proved the difference as Faisalabad won by 36 runs. Ali ended up getting his highest score of the tournament in that match, an unbeaten 70 off 49 balls.

Stats and Trivia

  • Faisalabad's Ehsan Adil finished on top of the wicket-takers list in the Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cup this year with 12 scalps in five matches
  • Otago Volts had won nine games on the trot in the HRV cup this season en route to qualifying for the Champions League


''All the teams have got players with X-factor. Our first concern is about the Wolves and Misbah-ul-Haq and one or two other internationals in their team."
Vaughn Johnson, the Otago Volts coach

"This is a positive sign. I think it will be the first step towards reviving Indo-Pak cricket, which is so cruelly suspended."
Faisalabad Wolves manager, Haroon Rasheed, sees the granting of visas as a welcome breakthrough in relations

Rohan Sharma is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prbath on September 17, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Trindad & Tobago is in main draw! well that's beyond me, these Qualifying teams are miles better than them,

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Misbah-ul-Haq will play the Imp role in the Match.... best Of Luck Wolves.....pakistan zindabad....:-)

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    Goood Luckkk Wolvessss.... Happy for Misbah & Co... and appreciate BCCI & Indian Govt for Visazzz

  • Android on September 17, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    To be honest I think Otago look like a pretty good side, with McCullum, Rutherford at the top of the order, the experience of N McCullum and Ian Butler in the bowling to go with some young talents like Wagner, Duffy and Jimmy Neesham. It is a shame they don't have ten Doeschate to call on for the game though.

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    Faislabad wolves is my home team here in Pakistan. now you people are right team looks weaker in betting and stronger in bowling. but the same team defeated all other star studded teams of Pakistan in Aprail. Misbah was rocking there with Around 300 runs in 5 matches with highest No. of tornament sixes, Leaded from front, so his performance is definatly a big factor here too. But beside that look out for openers too Ali waqas and specialy Farrukh shezad, bcoz if he gets going u ll forget richard levi and B.mcculam. Asif Ali is also an good tellent who hit T20 100 on debut at age of 19, So hopefully once again this teams ll be a surprise package Inshallah. as whenever any Pakistan team consider as weaker or underdogs, they rise as dark horse..BEST OF LUCK F.Wolves ...INSHALLAH u ll rock

  • Anver on September 17, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    Majority of players in both teams are new faces, so its gonna be an even contest in the opener..... Good Luck to both !!!!!

  • Android on September 17, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Best of luck Misbah n Company :)

  • ESPN on September 17, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Common wolves show ur true spirit...

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    The most meaningless tounament in cricket, to me... A tournament designed for the IPL teams, or maybe an Australian or South African team at the most!! Why are the other teams even invited? If someone like Sangakkara can forsake his home side for Sunrisers Hyderabad, or worse still, Trinidad have to put up with their two top guns (Bravo and Pollard) representing IPL sides, what is the point in calling them over just to fill in the numbers? At least the ruling that each player should, if possible, represent a franchise from his home nation in the CLT20 would make things fairer!!!

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    I wish Misbah and his boys all the best and I prefer them to qualify. With Ajamal, in the attack they should be doing well in today's match. All the best Ajmal and we are here to support you. gopi