MOHALI - The two eliminated teams produced similar performances in a dead rubber that ultimately ended in a tame finish in Mohali: poor top-order contributions, shoddy catching, inconsistent ground fielding, and one solid effort with the bat. The primary reason Faisalabad Wolves won, and Kandurata Maroons did not, was that Misbah-ul-Haq batted the distance for his team, while Kumar Sangakkara could not.
The result ended the run of victories for the chasing team at the PCA Stadium, and ensured Faisalabad had something to show for their trip to India, which had seemed uncertain due to confusion over visas. Kandurata Warriors, the hastily formed Sri Lankan T20 champions, ended their campaign with no wins from their three games.
The opening over of the game, bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara, was error strewn and set the tone for a tepid game. Ammar Mahmood mis-hit the first ball, but just cleared the leaping fielder at mid-on, treading on the right side of the thin line between failure and four. Mahmood mis-hit the second too, this time offering a catch to mid-off, where Thilina Kandamby dropped a waist-high sitter. Off the fourth, he survived an lbw appeal and ran a leg bye. While Mahmood lived through three mistakes, his partner Ali Waqas departed after his first, edging an outswinger behind to Sangakkara.
Amid strong gusts of wind in Mohali, Kulasekara returned in the fourth over and induced another edge, this time from Asif Ali, leaving Faisalabad on 20 for 2, needing to be rescued once again by their captain and Man of the Match, Misbah.
It nearly didn't happen. Faisalabad were 27 for 3 and Misbah was on 1 when he lofted Milinda Siriwardana to long-off, where the fielder misjudged the catch and parried it for the innings' first six. In Siriwardene's next over, Misbah carted him again, this time clear over the sightscreen.
After ten overs, Faisalabad were only 58 for 4 but Misbah finally had a steady partner in Mohammad Salman. The acceleration came against Suraj Randiv, with Misbah cutting and sweeping the spinner for consecutive fours before hitting a clean straight six in the 16th over, which cost Kandurata 19 runs. Another big over followed - 16 runs off Kulasekara - and the partnership was worth 74 in 8.4 overs before Salman fell for 21, via a one-handed catch from Lahiru Jayaratne, leaping backwards at deep midwicket. A six off the first ball off the final over and a brace of doubles took Misbah into the nineties but Kulasekara finished strongly, limiting Faisalabad to 146, of which Misbah had made 93.
He had made 195 runs in three qualifying matches; the rest of the Faisalabad batsmen had only 190.
Totals of this size had been chased comfortably in the previous games, and Kandurata got going with three consecutive fours from Upul Tharanga in the second over of the innings. However, a couple of mis-timed lofts and slow scoring reduced the Sri Lankan side to virtually the same position Faisalabad had been at the end of ten overs - 57 for 3.
Faisalabad did not help their cause, dropping Sangakkara on 17 and Silva on 2. However, Sangakkara did not find a partner like Misbah had, and with the burden of scoring falling squarely on him, he eventually holed out to deep midwicket for 44. The asking rate rose steadily after that, to beyond ten an over, and the contest was killed off by Ali Asad in the 19th over. With 25 runs to defend, he conceded only 2, ensuring Misbah's rescue act with the bat was not in vain.
Ammar Mahmood c Tharanga b Dilhara 10
Ali Waqas c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 0
Asif Ali c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 10
Misbah-ul-Haq not out 93
Khurram Shehzad lbw b Mendis 7
Mohammad Salman c Jayaratne b Dilhara 21
Imran Khalid c Sangakkara b Dilhara 0
Saeed Ajmal not out 1
EXTRAS: (lb1, w3) 4
TOTAL: (6 wkts; 20 overs) 146
FOW: 1-5, 2-20, 3-22, 4-56, 5-130, 6-131
BOWLING: N Kulasekara 4-0-34-2, L Dilhara 4-0-21-3, P Jayaratne 4-0-13-0, T Siriwardana 2-0-20-0, A Mendis 4-0-27-1, S Randiv 2-0-30-0
W Tharanga c Asad b Ehsan 25
S Kandamby lbw b Asad 0
K Sangakkara c Ammar b Imran 44
L Thirimanne c Asad b Ehsan 4
C Silva st Salman b Imran 25
L Dilhara run out 14
T Siriwardana b Ehsan 19
N Kulasekara not out 0
EXTRAS: (b1, lb2, w2) 5
TOTAL: (7 wkts; 20 overs) 136
FOW: 1-14, 2-43, 3-55, 4-83, 5-108, 6-130, 7-136
BOWLING: Samiullah Khan 3-0-15-0, Asad Ali 4-0-24-1, Saeed Ajmal 4-0-33-0, Ehsan Adil 4-0-25-3, Khurram Shehzad 1-0-9-0, Imran Khalid 4-0-27-2
TOSS: Kandurata Maroons
MAN OF THE MATCH: Misbah-ul-Haq
UMPIRES: R Illingworth (Eng), VA Kulkarni
TV UMPIRE: P Reiffel (Aus)
MATCH REFEREE: A Pycroft (Zim)