The Otago Volts might just surprise a few teams in the main draw you know.
The New Zealand side kept their unbeaten run going in splendid style with a comfortable five-wicket win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final CLT20 qualifier on Friday.
OTago Volts skipper Brendon McCullum in a punishing mood in the CLT20 qualifier against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mohali, September 20
Asked to bat first by Brendon McCullum in a game between two sides that had already qualified for the CLT20 tournament proper, the Sunrisers struggled a bit with the bat, with J.P. Duminy's unbeaten 57 helping them to 143 for five.
With the form that the Volts have shown in the last two matches and the firepower that they have at their disposal, it was never going to be enough and that proved to be the case with Otago romping home in 16.2 overs, finishing on 144 for five.
Pretty much every batsman, barring Ryan Ten Doeschate, in the Otago lineup played their part with Neil Broom (16 in 15) starting things off well by showing some aggression at the top.
Amish Rutherford also managed a decent 27 from 23, but the innings was all about Brendon McCullum, who absolutely tore into the Sunrisers bowler, while being particularly severe on Ishant Sharma, who finished with forgettable figures of 3-0-40-0.
Brendon McCullum (67, 39b, 5x4, 5x6) was dealing in sixes basically with a four thrown into it here and there, while Jimmy Neesham (21, 12b, 1x4, 2x6) also joined the party with a couple of maximums of his own as the Sunrisers struggled to put a lid on the Otago assault.
With the form shown by the Kiwi side, it was just a matter of time before the match ended in their favour, with the inevitable coming in the 17th over.
The first innings did not see a Shikhar Dhawan special. The elegant left-hander who has been in stunning form off late, decided to give his immeasurably brilliant magic wand a bit of a rest with Parthiv Patel, in good form in the CLT20 qualifiers, also failing to ignite.
Otago's decision to give Nathan McCullum, who has been tonked quite a bit so far in the CLT20, the new ball worked wonders as the off-spinner caused problems to both batsmen in the first over, before picking up the two in his next couple of overs.
Patel was the first to go for 12, bowled by Nathan McCullum (two for 23), who won the man of the match award, after missing a straight darted delivery. Dhawan also fell for the same score, mistiming an attempted shot over the top with Ryan Ten Doeschate taking the catch at mid-on.
Biplab Samantray struggled to keep the scoreboard ticking and his 16-ball 8-run stay was ended by Nick Beard.
Cameron White was given an opportunity to impress in place of Thisara Perera and the Australian looked quite good in the middle during his stay. However, he could not convert a decent start into a big one, departing for a 23-ball 25 after putting on 40 in 6 overs with J.P Duminy.
While the wickets were falling at a quick rate at one end, Duminy was calmness personified at the other and the Sunrisers had the left-hander to thank for getting the Hyderabad side beyond the 140-mark.
If nothing, it was a good batting session for Duminy, ahead of the tournament proper, as well as Darren Sammy who came in at the fall of White's wicket, scoring 26 off 22 balls (1x4, 2x6) before falling in the final ball of the innings.
Duminy reached an assured 50 in just 35 balls before remaining unbeaten on 57 (7x4) as the Sunrisers finished their 20 overs on 143 for five.
It was never going to be remotely enough though as McCullum and co. tore into the bowlers to cruise home for their 13th T20 win in a row.
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