Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview : Qualifier 3 - Otago Volts vs Kandurata Maroons
Can Maroons bowling overcome Volts charge?
The Otago Volts will aim to inch ahead of the rest of the pack and take a step closer to a place in the regular draw of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 2013 when they clash with the Kandurata Maroons in match three of the Qualifiers.
A clinical performance from their bowlers and a calculated knock by Brendon McCullum saw the Volts overcome the Faisalabad Wolves in the season opener. The Kandurata Maroons will be the more desperate of the two teams heading into this match after they lost their opening fixture to the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 4 pm IST
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
In 12 innings post IPL 2013 – across various formats – Brendon McCullum had managed to score only 184 runs, going past the 50-run mark on only one occasion. Back in more familiar conditions in India, the Volts skipper led from the front, taking a very measured approach to a run-chase. He took his time to settle down and get his timing right, and once he regained his confidence, he got stuck into the Wolves bowing. He scored his last 39 runs in just 18 balls.
In a crisp tournament like this, which affords very little time for other players to rediscover form, it is important that the man in touch continues to pile on the runs. Hence McCullum, along with Hamish Rutherford, who struck the ball well at the top of the innings, will be expected to come good yet again.
The Kandurata Maroons fielded four left-handers at the top of the order; Upul Tharanga struck four crisp boundaries in his brief stay at the crease, while Shehan Jayasuriya showed he had the temperament to drop anchor at the other end. They will use the same formula yet again. However, the bulk of the damage was done by the two left-handers who batted at Nos.3 and 4; skipper Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara timed the ball beautifully and scored half-centuries.
However, the area of concern for the Maroons will be the efficiency of their bowling attack which failed to defend 168. The two international players in their bowing attack – Nuwan Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis – both struggled against the Sunrisers left-handers. The Maroons should be contemplating making a place for either – or both – Suraj Randiv and Rangana Herath. They have impressive numbers at the international level, and can inspire the rest of the attack to raise its game.
The Otago Volts have now won 11 matches in a row.
Kandurata Maroons’ Rangana Herath has an economy rate of 5.86 in Twenty20 matches.
Both teams will next be seen in action on 20th September, 2013 – the final day of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 2013 Qualifiers. While the Kandurata Maroons will clash with the Faisalabad Wolves at 4 pm IST, the Otago Volts will square off against Sunrisers Hyderabad at 8 pm IST.