Faisalabad Wolves will leave Indian shores with their heads held a little higher than the Kandurata Maroons after the Pakistan side got the better of the Sri Lankans by 10 runs in their final CLT20 qualifier in Mohali on Friday.
Faisalabd skipper Misbah-ul-Haq drives during his unbeaten 93 against the Kandurata Maroons in their CLT20 qualifier, September 20
Misbah-ul-Haq, who else, was the chief architect for Faisalabad in the first innings scoring a brilliant 93 not out from 60 balls to guide his side to 146 for six in 20 overs.
In reply, the Kandurata Maroons just could not click into gear, finishing on 136 for seven to suffer their third loss in as many matches, with both sides now heading home after crashing out of the CLT20 early.
Kandurata have been quite decent with the bat in this tournament, but this time around, it did not quite go according to plan.
Upul Tharanga, the top scorer from the last game, failed to click at the top of the order, with opening partner Thilina Kandamby also failing to impress.
Kandamby fell early, lbw to Asad Ali, after Tharanga had smashed the bowler for three consecutive fours in the over.
Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara looked to settle things down and build a platform for the final assault, but Ehsan Adil (three for 25) dismissed Tharanga (25, 27b, 4x4) in the eighth over, while skipper Lahiru Thirimanne did not last too long either, leaving the match completely in Sangakkara's hands.
The graceful left-hander though was just left with too much to do, and as the run rate kept climbing up a false shot was inevitable with the wicket falling in the 15th over as Sangakkara's (44, 36b, 4x4, 1x6) innings came to an end.
Lokuhettige and Chamara Silva did their best to cut down the equation, but with Kandurata needing well over ten runs an over, it was never going to possible as Faisalabad went home with at least one victory under their belts.
It was the same old story with the Faisalabad Wolves batting yet again as one man played a brilliant little innings - no prizes for guessing that it was Misbah - while the rest of the Pakistan side's batting floundered.
Faisalabad got off to the worst possible start, losing three wickets within the powerplay overs to find themselves on the back foot in no time.
Ali Waqas was the first to go, edging one off Nuwan Kulasekara to Kumar Sangakkara for a golden duck in an eventful first over.
One-drop Asif Ali did not last too long either, with Kulasekara (two for 34) inducing another outside edge to Sangakkara as Faisalabad tottered.
Opener Ammar Mahmood also was walking back to the pavilion six balls later, falling to Dilhara Lokuhettige (three for 21) as Faisalabad struggled on 22 for three.
Enter Misbah who continued his batting assault like he was not even aware of what was happening around him, playing in such a fluent manner for his unbeaten 93 (60b, 6x4, 5x6).
Misbah had made scores of 46 and 56 in the previous two matches, and the amount by which Faisalabad have relied on him is quite ridiculous.
The highest partnership of the innings was between Misbah and Mohammad Salman (21 in 21) for 74 in just 8.4 overs which gave their side the momentum as the final ten overs yielded 88 runs.
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