The Otago Volts completed the qualifying phase of the Champions League T20 in Mohali, India, with their third straight victory.
Having already qualified for the group stage after wins over the Faisalabad Wolves and Kandurata Maroons, the Volts defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad, who had also qualified, by five wickets at PCA Stadium.
Otago join the Mumbai Indias, Rajasthan Royals, Perth Scorchers and Lions of South Africa in Group A, with their opening match against the Indians on Tuesday morning (NZ time).
After putting the Sunrisers in to bat, the Volts did well to restrict them to 143 and then chased down the runs in 16.2 overs.
Otago have now stretched their winning streak in competition T20 matches to 13 - second-equal on the all-time list for most consecutive wins.
Despite being faced with a moderate target, the Volts came out aggressive. Openers Neil Broom and Hamish Rutherford got stuck into some wayward bowling from the Sunrisers bowlers and powered their way to 27 in three overs, when Broom was caught behind off Dale Steyn.
Brendon McCullum walked in at No 3 and did not let the intensity dip. He got off the mark in style, smashing Darren Sammy for a six off the first delivery he faced. Though Rutherford lifted his foot of the pedal, Brendon kept up the scoring rate.
The Volts captain was given a reprieve when Parthiv Patel missed a regulation stumping with the batsmen way out of his ground. Then on 26, McCullum made the Sunrisers pay for that lapse by scoring 67. He got to his 50 in style by smashing Ishant Sharma some distance into the stands at square-leg and followed it up with another six in the same region. He picked up two more boundaries in the same over to make it 22 from the over.
For the Sunrisers, Steyn and Amit Mishra were the pick of the bowlers, bowling a total of 21 dot balls (in a combined seven overs) and picking up three wickets between them, while the 9.2 overs bowled by Ishant, Darren Sammy and Karan Sharma cost them 99 runs.
Earlier in the evening, the Volts bowlers bowled tight lines and applied pressure from the very first ball. Shikhar Dhawan survived two close leg-before appeals against man-of-the-match Nathan McCullum, and Biplab Samantray, who was promoted to No 3, survived two appeals against Neil Wagner.
Both batsmen could not capitalise on the reprieves and perished soon after; Dhawan holed out to mid-on, while an acrobatic catch by Michael Bracewell at long-on forced Samantray to head back to the dressing room.
At 45-3, the Sunrisers were in a spot of bother. But JP Duminy and Cameron White (playing his first game in the competition), put the innings back on track with a 40-run partnership. They took a cautious approach to rebuilding the innings. Duminy was quick off the blocks, but then settled down to play a very calculated innings. His innings was constructed on singles, with the odd ball finding its way to the fence. Their stand was culled when White hit one from Wagner crisply but straight to Brendon McCullum at extra-cover.
The arrival of Sammy to the crease gave the innings some impetus. Put down on one, Sammy hit Ryan ten Doeschate for two sixes in an over and followed it up with a boundary off Wagner. However, the Volts bowlers corrected their lengths and only conceded 13 runs off the final two overs. The Sunrisers completed their 20 overs at 143-5, with 85 runs being scored in the second half of the innings. Duminy remained unbeaten on 57 (off 38 balls).
Nathan McCullum and Nick Beard returned the most successful bowlers, picking up two wickets each.
Otago Volts 144-5 (B McCullum 67no, H Rutherford 27, J Neesham 21; D Steyn 2-13) Sunrisers Hyderabad 143-5 (JP Duminy 57no, D Sammy 26, C White 25; N McCullum 2-23, N Beard 2-31)
- © Fairfax NZ News
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