Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Match Report : Q 1 - Otago Volts vs Faisalabad Wolves
Skipper McCullum powers Volts to first CLT20 win
The Volts innings began on a poor note as they lost opener Neil Broom off the second ball of the run-chase. But they snatched back the initiative through Hamish Rutherford’s cameo; the 24-year-old left-hander struck three sixes and a boundary as he raced to 25 off 12 balls, before miscuing a Saeed Ajmal delivery to be caught at midwicket. Rutherford dominated the 41-run stand with skipper McCullum.
Meanwhile, McCullum paced his innings brilliantly; he scored 29 from his first 35 balls to set a solid platform. And just as the required run-rate breached the eight-run mark, he opened his shoulders. Offered a life on 41, he struck nine fours and two sixes during his unbeaten 83 – his last 54 runs came off just 30 balls. Fittingly, he sealed the match for his team when he picked Asad Ali’s slower delivery early and hit it for a boundary through cover point.
For the Wolves, off-spinner Saeed Ajmal finished with impressive figures of one for 23 from his four overs. Samiullah Khan (1/18) was the only other wicket-taker in the innings.
Earlier in the evening, Wolves skipper, Misbah-ul-Haq, won the toss and opted to take first strike. Though Ammar Mahmood got the innings – and the tournament itself – off to a cracking start by hitting a boundary off the very first delivery, he did not last long as he found the point fielder at the start of the second over. The Wolves lost the wickets of Ali Waqas and Asif Ali shortly thereafter and were reduced to 34/3. No.3 batter Khurram Shehzad and Misbah then collaborated to revive the innings; the fourth-wicket pair added 61 runs in 7.4 overs, before Shehzad found the man at mid-off.
Though the Wolves scored 44 runs in the final quarter of the innings, they could not force the pace as much as they could have because they lost four wickets in that period. Innings top-scorer Misbah, playing his 100th Twenty20 match, was dismissed for a well-compiled 46 (off 34 balls) at the end of the 17th over.
For the Volts, barring Nathan McCullum, all the other bowlers returned with respectable figures. Ian Butler, James McMillan and James Neesham picked up two wickets apiece, while left-arm seamer Neil Wagner picked up one wicket.
Man of the Match: Brendon McCullum for his unbeaten 65-ball 83.