High-voltage McCullum sinks Wolves

High-voltage McCullum sinks Wolves

Skipper hammers 83 to take Otago Volts to eight-wkt win

High-voltage McCullum sinks Wolves

Skipper Brendon McCullum led from the front smashing an unbeaten 83 as Otago Volts from New Zealand comfortably beat Pakistan’s Faisalabad Wolves by eight wickets in the qualifying round match of the Champions League Twenty20 here on Tuesday.

Opting to bat, the Misbah-ul Haq led side could manage only 139 for eight in the wake of some controlled bowling from the Otago bowlers.  

Pacers Ian Butler (2/23), James McMillan (2/24) and James Neesham (2/26) all bowled well with only Misbah making a significant contribution with 46 off 34 balls.

In reply, McCullum hit an unbeaten 83 from just 65 balls studded with nine fours and two sixes, besides sharing a 41-run stand for the second wicket with Hamish Rutherford (25) before putting on an unbeaten 101-run partnership with Derek de Boorder (30 not out).

Otago lost opener Neil Broom for a duck but Rutherford (25) and McCullum quickly stamped their authority.

While McCullum adopted a cautious approach at the start, left-handed Rutherford attacked the bowling, hitting a six each in three consecutive overs to set it up for the winners.

Saeed Ajmal, however, saw Rutherford off having scored a quickfire 25 off 12 balls that included a boundary and three sixes. But McCullum firmly held on to his wicket and patiently continued in the able company of De Boorder.

Once they got set, the two right-handers cut loose and McCullum looked in devastating form as he dismissed any loose deliveries out of his presence. The duo picked up Ehsan Adil for a special treatment, stealing 17 runs of one of his overs that included two fours and a six. 

McCullum got a life when he was dropped on 42 off Imran Khalid’s over. He capitalised on the advantage and it just was a matter of time before he steered his team to 142 for two in 17.5 overs.

De Boorder’s unbeaten 30 came off 28 balls (2x4, 1x6).

Barring spinner Ajmal, who gave away 23 runs in alloted four overs for a wicket, the rest of the Wolves bowlers failed to contain McCullum. Electing to bat, the Wolves lost early wickets to find themselves in a spot of bother at 45 for three at the half-way stage but valuable contributions from captain Misbah-ul-Haq (46) and Khurram Shehzad (27) steadied their innings.

Even though the duo stitched a solid 61-run stand off 46 balls for the fourth wicket, the Wolves still failed to post a competitive total on the board.

Earlier, seamer McMillan struck in his first two overs, dismissing both the openers — Ammar Mahmood (5) and Ali Waqas (4) — cheaply.

Mahmood, who hit a boundary of the very first ball of the match, was dismissed in the second over when he gave a simple catch to Hamish Rutherford at point. Waqas was the next to depart in McMillan’s very next over.

Asif Ali (14, 12b, 3x4) tried to consolidate Wolves’ position in Khurram Shehzad’s company, but his stay in the middle was cut short by Neesham.

Shehzad and Misbah showed a lot of character and managed to do the damage control. . But just as things started to look up for the Pakistani outfit, Butler sent back Shehzad for a 36-ball 27. Butler struck once again in his next over to claim the wicket of dangerman Misbah, dashing Wolves’ hopes.

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