It was three out of three for Otago Volts while Sunrisers Hyderabad could not carry on the winning momentum and had to be satisfied with two wins at the end of qualifying matches of the Champions League at Punjab Cricket Association grounds on Friday.
In an inconsequential last qualifying league match, a charged-up Volts defused Sunrisers by five wickets to finish at the top of the four-team qualifying table with 12 points. The McCullum brothers (Nathan and Brendon) were the star players in Volts’ third successive win.
Playing an efficient game, Volts restricted Sunrisers to 143 for five and then galloped away to victory in 16.2 overs. Volts will fly to Ahmedabad where they play Mumbai Indians in their first Group ‘A’ league match on Monday while Sunrisers meet Trinidad & Tobago in a Group ‘B’ match here on Tuesday.
Finally, the run-spree of Shikhar Dhawan was snapped. The left-hander lasted only 10 deliveries, scoring 12 and hitting one six. Volts’ decision to open the bowling with Nathan McCullum proved a master-stroke as the off-spinner removed Parthiv Patel and Dhawan in successive overs.
Patel was done in by a faster one while Dhawan holed out to mid-on fielder. However, Sunrisers recovered through JP Duminy (57 not out, 38 balls, 7x4) and Darren Sammy (26 off 21) to put up a reasonable total.
Brendon McCullum (67 not out, 39 balls; 5x4, 5x6) was brutal in Volts’ pursuit of the small target. The New Zealand skipper took the Sunrisers’ attack by its horns to bulldoze his way to an entertaining innings.
Brendon shared 53 runs for the second wicket with left-hander Hamish Rutherford, who rattled up a 23-ball 27, and 51 for the fourth wicket with Neesham in Volts’ impressive win. Sunrisers’ bowlers were off target. They were mauled, literally. Ishant Sharma was hit for 20 runs in his third over by the rampaging Brendon.