Brendon McCullum unleashed some of those patented hits that have wounded both bowlers and fielders many a time as Otago Volts picked up the easiest of victories against the Faisalabad Wolves in the first Champions League T20 (CLT20) qualifier in Mohali.
Otago Volts opener Brendon McCullum in a punishing mood against Faisalabad Wolves in their Champion League T20 qualifier in Mohali, September 17
With the bowlers doing their jobs for Otago by restricting Faisalabad to just 139 for eight - that too only because Misbah managed a quickfire 46 - the New Zealand side's batsmen took over with McCullum leading from the front with an unbeaten 83 from just 65 deliveries (9x4, 2x6) as Otago finished on 142 for two from 17.5 overs.
The Otago Volts, like Faisalabad, got off to a poor start, losing an early wicket. Samiullah Khan found the outside edge of Neil Broom with the Faisalabad bowler bowling a quite impressive first over.
However, Hamish Rutherford, the son of former New Zealand international Ken, came in and belted a few quickfire boundaries and with it taking the pressure off Brendon McCullum, who was allowed the settle down and set his own pace.
Rutherford's brief but entertaining 12-ball 25-run (1x4, 3x6) stay ended when Saeed Ajmal enticed a skier with Asif Ali completing the catch.
The run rate slowed down a little after Rutherford's wicket with Otago needing 79 runs off the final ten overs.
Otago started upping the ante in the second half of the innings, and were helped by some shoddy fielding from Faisalabad.
After McCullum was gifted a boundary in the 11th over from Ajmal, the Otago stalwart was dropped a couple of overs later off Imran Khalid as a fuming Misbah felt the match slipping away.
McCullum does not need a second invitation, and Baz, as he is known, got into overdrive, smashing the ball all around the park along with Derek De Boorder (30, 28b, 2x4, 1x6) to take Otago ever closer, with the equation whittled down to just 29 from the final 30 balls.
The Otago skipper did not let up from there as they romped home with 13 balls to spare.
Earlier, Faisalabad stumbled their way to 139 for eight with Misbah-ul-Haq, as is always the case with pretty much any Pakistan side he plays for, bailing his side out of a hole.
Faisalabad was on the backfoot right from the off, losing two wickets in 20 balls with openers Ammar Mahmood and Ali Waqas failing to give their side a good start.
Mahmood was the first to go, with the right-hander finding the fielder at point while going for an expansive drive off the first ball of James McMillan in the second over.
McMillan (two for 24) picked up his second wicket in two overs, enticing a foul shot from Waqas as Faisalabad tottered on 12 for two.
James Neesham was the next Otago bowler to get amongst the wickets, picking up the dangerous Asif Ali in the eighth over.
That brought in Misbah to the crease and the Faisalabad captain steadied the ship quite well, scoring a fairly brisk 46 from 34 balls, which included four fours and three sixes.
The best Faisalabad over came in the 14th and no surprises for guessing who was the architect with Misbah laying into Nathan McCullum, smashing the off-spinner for two sixes and a four to force some momentum into the innings.
Unfortunately, though, for Misbah, he just did not have any support around him and slowly but surely Otago kept picking off the Faisalabad batsmen as a score over 150 seemed impossible.
The Pakistan T20 champions eventually finished on 139 for eight, with the final five overs yielding a fruitful 44 runs.
But then it was never going to be enough, especially with McCullum in that kind of mood, as Otago eased to victory.
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