Mohali: Already out of the main tournament, Faisalabad Wolves rode on skipper Misbah-ul-Haq's unbeaten 93 to beat Kandurata Maroons by 10 runs and post a consolation win in an inconsequential qualifying match of the Champions League Twenty20 on Friday.
Sent into bat, Misbah led from the front with a strokeful 93 that came off just 60 balls to help Wolves recover from a precarious start and post a competitive 146 for six on the board. Nuwan Kulasekara (2 for 34) and Dilhara Lokuhettige (3 for 21) inflicted the early damage on Wolves, reducing the Pakistani outfit to 56 for four.
Openers Ammar Mahmood (10), Ali Waqas (0), Asif Ali (10) and Khurram Shehzad (7) all departed cheaply. While Waqas and Ali were dismissed in identical fashion - caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara of Kulasekara's bowling, Mahmood top-edged one to Upul Tharanga at mid-on off Lokuhittege. But then came in Misbah and in Mohammad Salman's (21) company, he resurrected Wolves' innings with a 74-run fifth-wicket stand.
Misbah paced his innings to perfection. He started slowly but pressed on the gas as the innings progressed and decorated his stay at the crease with six boundaries and as many as five hits over the fence to single-handedly take his side past the 140-run mark.
Defending the total, the Wolves' bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals to deny any initial momentum to Maroons' chase. Right-arm pacer Ehsan Adil was at his lethal best, picking up three wickets for just 26 runs from his four overs. Adil was ably supported by left-arm spinner Imran Khalid, who returned figures of two for 27.
Upul Tharanga (25) gave a quick start to Maroon's chase, smashing Asad Ali for three consecutive fours in the second over. But Ali had the last laugh as he gave Wolves' the first breakthrough in the last ball of the same over, dismissing the other opener Thilina Kadamby for a duck.
Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara (44) then stitched a 29-run second wicket stand before the former became Adil's first victim of the day, caught by Asad Ali at mid-off. Maroons' skipper Lahiru Thirimanne (4) also failed to make any substantial contribution. He too top-edged a Adil delivery to Asad Ali at mid-off.
Sangakkara kept Maroons in the hunt in Chamara Silva's company. The duo added 28 runs for the fourth wicket before Sangakkara was holed out at deep fine-leg off Khalid. Chamara Silva (25) tried his best to get Maroons over the line but the ever-climbing asking rate finally took a toll on him. In search of quick runs, he was stumped by Mohammad Salman off Khalid.
Lokuhittege and Milinda Siriwardana did just enough to keep Maroons in the fray as the Sri Lankan outfit needed a manageable 27 runs off the last two overs. But Asad Ali produced a splendid penultimate over, where he conceded just two runs, to seal the game and a consolation win for his side.