McCullum guides Otago Volts to T20 win in India
A mature, explosive and perfectly timed knock of 83 from Otago Volts captain Brendon McCullum has ensured there were few hiccups in his team's opening Champions League qualifying game in India.
The Volts have grabbed an eight wicket win over Pakistan side the Faisalabad Wolves to put them in a position where one win from their next two outings is likely to be enough to get them to the main draw of the US$7.4m Champions League twenty20 tournament in India.
The win was ultimately setup by the Volts pace attack of James McMillan, Ian Butler, Jimmy Neesham and Neil Wagner before McCullum rubber-stamped the victory.
McMillan was sharp off his short run hurrying up the Wolves' batsmen and he got a wicket with his first of the tournament when Ammar Mahmood hung his bat out with little intent and was caught by Neil Broom at backward point.
In the next over McMillan had the other opener Ali Waqas caught and the Pakistanside was struggling at 12 for two.
Veteran international player Misbah-ul-Haq tried his best to get his team's innings going which included taking Nathan McCullum for 18 off one over.
But outside Misbah there was little for the Volts bowlers to worry about and when he went for 46 with three overs still to bat so did his team's chances of pushing past a competitive total of 150.
Neesham was particularly good at the death as they restricted the Faisalabad side to 139 for eight after they won the toss and opted to bad first.
Neil Broom provided his camp with a few nerves when he edged a ball to slip with the Volts yet to register a run and only two balls gone in their innings.
But it was enter McCullum who showed off his class and years of experience to the scattering of people who turned out in Mohali to watch.
He firstly rotated the strike picking off the singles as Hamish Rutherford took on the aggressive role at the other end on his way to 25 from only 12 balls.
Knowing he needed to see his team through McCullum took a low risk approach on his way to his half century which came from 49 balls.
But with the victory in sight McCullum then delivered some of his trade mark power blows as he finished 83 not out from just 65 balls.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Derek de Boorder was promoted to four in the order and also played the mature card in getting his team home as he teamed up with McCullum for an unbeaten third wicket stand of 101.
There was little surprise McCullum was delighted his team was able to win first up and felt the Mohali conditions surprisingly suited his team.
"I think the wicket certainly had some pace and bounce in it and probably is more accustomed to a New Zealand or Australian wicket than a sub-continent wicket, so it obviously suited our guys,'' McCullum said.
There is little time for the Volts to celebrate as they eye their next showdown against Sri Lankan side the Kandurata Maroons tonight at the same venue.
While the win over Faisalabad was good the reality is the Pakistan side was a one trick pony with their batting in regards to Misbah-ul-Haq and it was much the same in the bowling department with spinner Saeed Ajmal the only real threat.
The Maroons side, which is loaded with Sri Lankan internationals, will be a much tougher prospect.
The Volts are expected to be bolstered with world-class batsman Ryan ten Doeschate likely to arrive from England in time for the second qualifying game tonight.
Aaron Redmond is most likely to make way for the Dutch international in the playing 11.
Otago Volts 142-2 (Brendon McCullum 83*, Derek de Boorder 30, Hamish Rutherford 25, Neil Broom 0; Saeed Ajmal 4-0-23-1, Samiullah Kahn 3-0-18-1) Faisalabad Wolves 139-8 (Misbah-ul-Haq 46, Khurram Shehzad 27; Ian Butler 4-0-23-2, James McMillan 4-0-24-2, Jimmy Neesham 4-0-26-2, Neil Wagner 4-0-25-1)
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