The Sunrisers Hyderabad-Faisalabad Wolves qualifier in the Champions League T20 was seen by ardent fans as a contest involving India and Pakistan. However, the battle at the sparsely-filled PCA Stadium here on Wednesday night hardly had the keenness associated with those classic duels.
Sunrisers cruised to a seven-wicket victory in a lop-sided contest to book a slot in the main phase of the CLT20. The result rendered the last two qualifiers on Friday inconsequential.
Dhawan’s peak form
Shikhar Dhawan could barely do anything wrong these days. After inserting the opposition and limiting it to 127 for five, the Sunrisers skipper once again showcased his peak form to score an effortless 59 off 50 balls, his second half-century on the trot.
Dhawan, who hit six fours and a six during his stay in the middle, put up another sound opening stand of 68 with Parthiv Patel. The solid platform helped Sunrisers reach the modest target with more than two overs to spare.
After their failure in the first match, the Wolves openers understood the gravity of the situation and showed some commitment while providing their team a decent start.
They freed their arms to score some boundaries and stepped up the scoring rate. Ammar Mahmood took the lead as he clubbed Ishant Sharma and Thisara Perera to the ropes off successive overs. His partner, Ali Waqas, complemented Mahmood as Wolves sailed smoothly.
The script took a turn when Dhawan introduced Amit Mishra and the seasoned leg-spinner broke the partnership by having Waqas caught at deep midwicket.
In the next over, the other leg-spinner, Karan Sharma, had Asif leg-before as Wolves was reduced to 50 for two. Suddenly, the team faced an arduous task of steadying the boat.
Misbah-ul-Haq again turned out to be the lone ranger for Wolves. The captain did his best to resurrect the innings. He, however, lacked support from the other end.
Restricted for options, Misbah resorted to the aerial route and slammed five sixes, four of which cleared the long-on fence, apart from a four. He remained unbeaten on 56, off just 40 balls, even as Wolves had to settle for a below-par total despite starting well.
Mishra’s economical spell of one for 13 was easily the best of the disciplined Sunrisers bowling, an effort that earned him the ‘man-of-the-match’ award.