Misbah-ul-Haq was back to his rescue role, although his team changed. Playing for the Faisalabad Wolves against Otago Volts in the first qualifying game of the Champions League T20 (CLT20), 2013, his innings of 46 helped the recover and reach 139.
Faisalabad captain Misbah won the toss and elected to bat first. However, on a slightly helpful surface, the Otago fast-bowlers created problems for the Faisalabad top-order.
James McMillan, cousin of former New Zealand batsman Craig McMillan, was responsible for the early damage. Off his very first ball in the game, he had Ammar Mahmood as the batsman played away from his body and offered a catch to Hamish Rutherford at point. In his second over, Ali Waqas tried to loft him out of the ground, but holed out.
Asif Ali had an encouraging start and was hitting the ball on the rise. But, he got carried away and lofted the ball high in the air on the leg-side. Nick Beard ran in and took it inches off the ground, although replays did express doubt over that catch.
In came Faisalabad’s trump-card, Misbah. He was proactive at the outset and slog swept to signal his intent. In the tenth over, he walked down to Jimmy Neesham and lofted him over mid-off for four. At the half-way mark, Faisalabad were 45 for three with a lot to do. In the next over, they completed their fifty with a boundary, but the innings was still searching for momentum.
Misbah is usually known to take his time at the crease, but he realized the paucity of time in the format. Nathan McCullum was lofted over mid-wicket for a huge six. Off Neil Wagner’s over, Khurram Shehzad and Misbah managed to pick two boundaries to push the scoring rate.
McCullum bowled the 14th over and it went for 18 as Misbah got stuck into him. When he pitched short, Misbah moved on the backfoot and lofted him high over square-leg for six. The next ball was hit past long-on for a four. The last ball was a full-toss and Misbah had no problems in smashing it into the stands at square leg. With that, Shehzad and Misbah brought up their 50-run partnership. Faisalabad were gradually getting things going.
Just as Faisalabad stepped into the last five overs, Shehzad lost his wicket as he spooned a catch. Imran Khalid joined Misbah in the centre and was almost run-out early. Faisalabad’s hopes took a hit when Misbah was castled by Ian Butler. The captain tried to make room, but missed a full delivery that crashed onto the stumps.
Faisalabad batsmen did manage to hit a few good stroke towards the end, but were jolted by wickets at regular intervals.
Otgao have to chase 140 to win. Can Saeed Ajmal’s tricks stop them? Faisalabad also have Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali to do the job.
Faisalabad Wolves 139 for 8 in 20 overs (Misbah-ul-Haq 46; Ian Butler 2 for 23, James McMillan 2 for 24, James Neesham 2 for 27) vs Otago Volts