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Kiwis win first qualifier

Skipper Brendon McCullum

Skipper Brendon McCullum

Skipper Brendon McCullum led from the front smashing an unbeaten 83 as Otago Volts from New Zealand comfortably beat Pakistan’s Faisalabad by eight wickets in their qualifying round match of the Champions League Twenty20 championship in Mohali today.

Opting to bat, the Misbah-ul Haq led side could manage only 139 for eight in the wake of some controlled bowling from the Otago bowlers. Pacers Ian Butler (2/23), James McMillan (2/24) and James Neesham (2/26) all bowled well while for Faisalabad only skipper Misbah-ul-Haq made a significant contribution with a fighting 46 off 34 balls.

In reply, McCullum hit an unbeaten 83 from just 65 balls studded with nine fours and two sixes, besides sharing a 41-run stand for the second wicket with Hamish Rutherford (25) before putting on an unbeaten 101-run partnership with Derek de Boorder (30 not out).

Otago lost opener Neil Broom for a duck but Rutherford (25) and McCullum quickly stamped their authority. While McCullum adopted a cautious approach at the start, left-handed Rutherford attacked the bowling, hitting a six each in three consecutive overs to set it up for the winners.

Saeed Ajmal, however, saw Rutherford off having scored quick-fire 25 off 12 balls that included a boundary and three sixes. But McCullum firmly held on to his wicket and patiently continued in the able company of De Boorder.

Once they got set, the two right-handers cut loose and McCullum looked in devasting form as he dismissed any loose deliveries out of his presence. The duo picked up Ehsan Adil for a special treatment, stealing 17 runs of one of his overs that included two fours and a six.

McCullum got a life when he was dropped on 42 off Imran Kahlid’s over. He capitalised on the advantage and it just was a matter of time before he steered his team to 142 for two in 17.5 overs. (AP)

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