MOHALI - The match was over as a contest in the 14th over of Sunrisers Hyderabad's chase. Saeed Ajmal had bowled his last over, remained wicketless and mostly ineffective. Shikhar Dhawan soon reached his second consecutive half-century in the Champions League Twenty20, setting up Sunrisers' comfortable victory over Faisalabad Wolves which eased them into the main competition.
The result also ensured that Otago Volts, who had beaten Kandurata Maroons earlier in the day, also qualified. Both Faisalabad and Kandurata were knocked out. Sunrisers look to be the most well-balanced side among the four qualifiers, and will provide competition for the rest of the pack.
Dhawan's fifty came off 48 balls, and it had his usual dose of pleasing off-side strokes as well as some slogs. His only six was hit between reaching his fifty and getting out to left-arm spinner Imran Khalid. He added 68 for the first wicket with Parthiv Patel, before a 44-run stand with Jean-Paul Duminy during which they got over a tricky period when the ball kept low. Biplab Samantray got out for a duck to a beauty from Khalid, but Duminy and Darren Sammy completed the win.
Dhawan, Patel and Duminy tackled Ajmal quite well, but the offspinner was tasked with defending a low total in a ground favoured by chasing sides. The Faisalabad bowling was as insipid as their batting, except for their captain Misbah-ul-Haq who, like his time as Pakistan captain, played a lone hand.
Faisalabad's innings ran out of juice as soon as the Powerplay overs were completed, by when they had raced to 44 for 0. But two wickets fell in the next two overs and the run-rate fell too, as Sunrisers reclaimed momentum. Amit Mishra made the difference at that stage, as he bowled four tight overs on the trot. His figures, 4-1-13-1, stunted Faisalabad's hopes of getting the score past 150. He started off with a wicket off his second ball when Ali Waqas flicked him to deep midwicket. Mishra's line was immaculate for most of the four overs, as he accumulated 17 dot balls. The only boundary in a spell that caused plenty of damage to Faisalabad's confidence was in his final over when Misbah launched him straight down the ground. There was a danger of the Pakistan Twenty20 champions slipping further, but with Misbah around, they had fight at one end. Misbah struck five sixes and a four in his unbeaten 40-ball 56, becoming the oldest batsman - at the age of 39 - to score a fifty in the Champions League Twenty20.
He was playing a young man's game but his running between the wickets, the five sixes and the fight he provided showed he was in his element. He slammed four of his sixes down the ground, and the last one off Thisara Perera over square-leg, a timely and powerful swivel of the bat. But despite all his efforts, Faisalabad's first Champions League campaign is set to be a short one as there was too much for Misbah and Ajmal to do.
Ammar Mahmood c Mishra b Sammy 31
Ali Waqas c Ashish Reddy b Mishra 16
Asif Ali lbw b K Sharma 0
Misbahul Haq not out 56
Imran Khalid c Perera b I Sharma 2
Khurram Shehzad b Perera 4
M Salman not out 3
EXTRAS: (b4, lb6, w4, nb1) 15
TOTAL: (5 wickets; 20 overs) 127
FOW: 1-48, 2-50, 3-69, 4-92, 5-101
BOWLING: D Steyn 4-0-20-0, I Sharma 4-0-26-1, N Perera 4-0-33-1, A Mishra 4-1-13-1, K Sharma 2-0-11-1, D Sammy 2-0-14-1
P Patel c Khurram b Ehsan 23
S Dhawan b Imran 59
JP Duminy not out 20
B Samantray lbw b Imran 0
D Sammy not out 14
EXTRAS: (lb6, w8, nb1) 15
TOTAL: (3 wickets; 17.3 overs) 131
FOW: 1-68, 2-112, 3-112
BOWLING: Samiullah Khan 4-0-36-0, Asad Ali 3.3-0-27-0, Saeed Ajmal 4-0-25-0, Ehsan Adil 3-0-14-1, Khurram Shehzad 1-0-9-0, Imran Khalid 2-0-14-2
TOSS: Sunrisers Hyderabad\
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: A Mishra
UMPIRES: R Illingworth (Eng), P Reiffel (Aus)
TV UMPIRE: VA Kulkarni
MATCH REFEREE: A Pycroft (Zim)