Kochi upstage Tendulkar's century
On Friday, the crowd at the Wankhede returned dejected despite Tendulkar crafting his maiden Twenty20 century as Kochi Kerala Tuskers busted their party with one of the most memorable chases in IPL history
Kochi Tuskers Kerala 184 for 2 (McCullum 81, Jayawardene 56) beat Mumbai Indians 182 for 2 (Tendulkar 100*, Rayudu 53) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Two weeks ago, the crowd at the Wankhede was delirious though a fervently anticipated Sachin Tendulkar century didn't materialise. On Friday, the same crowd went home dejected despite Tendulkar crafting his first Twenty20 century, as Kochi Tuskers Kerala busted their party with one of the most memorable chases in IPL history.
Two of the world's finest Twenty20 batsmen, Brendon McCullum and Mahela Jayawardene, constructed chalk-and-cheese half-centuries to power Kochi's pursuit of 183. Both perished to Lasith Malinga's deadly deliveries but Kochi, who had stumbled in the final stretch of their first two games, didn't slip up this time as Ravindra Jadeja and Brad Hodge muscled boundaries to finish the game with an over to spare.
Tendulkar's effort checked off another item on his ever-shrinking to-do list, and Mumbai ran up a tall total without needing contributions from Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds and Kieron Pollard. It was then assumed that the bowlers would make the rest of the game a formality, but McCullum firmly put that assumption to rest by muscling three boundaries between mid-off and cover in Malinga's second over. The next big jump came in the sixth over from Pollard as McCullum swatted a four past midwicket and Jayawardene eased boundaries behind square on either side of the wicket.
The Mumbai fielding made things worse for the home team. Rohit Sharma dropped McCullum at first slip off the first ball, and Jayawardene was given a life by Ali Murtuza at backward point.
McCullum kept skating out of the crease and lashing the ball through the off side right through his innings, while Jayawardene was content shuffling across and using the bowler's pace, rarely powering the ball. The difference between the two batsmen's innings was highlighted in the ninth over as McCullum smashed the first ball over long-off, and Jayawardene reverse-paddled the fifth ball off the back of the bat for four.
With dew making it difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball, both batsmen kept picking off the boundaries. Kochi were in command by the 14th over as they moved to 128 for 0 when Jayawardene deftly poked a Malinga delivery past the keeper towards a delighted Kochi dug-out. Next ball, Malinga removed Jayawardene with a yorker which prompted a surprise promotion for Jadeja. McCullum, though, kept Kochi on top with a couple of scythed boundaries in the 17th over that worsened Pollard's evening.
With 27 needed off three overs, and nine wickets in hand, Mumbai gambled by bringing on Malinga for his final over. He delivered by bowling McCullum first ball, but Hodge eased Kochi's anxieties with two walloped boundaries off the rest of the over. Jadeja, who has received plenty of criticism over the past two years, then justified his promotion with a couple of swiped sixes off Murtaza Ali to finish off Mumbai with an over to go.
It was the Kochi's franchise first IPL win and Mumbai's first defeat of the season, a result few predicted after Tendulkar had combined power and placement to reach a memorable century. It, however, came after a nervy start: Tendulkar was nearly run out on 0, umpire Paul Reiffel turned down two lbw appeals from Vinay Kumar which should have been given. There was also a close call for caught behind, and an outside edge off Thisara Perera that just beat the keeper.
Mumbai made relatively sedate progress, reaching 57 in eight overs before losing Davy Jacobs. The in-form Ambati Rayudu immediately took charge, blasting two sixes off Raiphi Gomez. A series of powerfully hit straight boundaries took him to 44, when the partnership had realised 64.
The final five overs turned into a Tendulkar show as he plundered 45 runs. Tendulkar showed how he could finesse the ball or force it depending on his mood: in the 16th over, a short ball on legstump was helped over fine leg for six, and a length ball outside off was pummelled over long-on for six more as 20 came off the over. A helicopter shot for four and a slugged six over midwicket took him to 90 after 19 overs.
Tendulkar proceeded to paddle a four past short fine leg, and bludgeon another past long-on before reaching his ton with a push to mid-off off the final delivery of the innings. The decibel levels shot up in the stands, but it was a muted celebration from Tendulkar himself on reaching the milestone.
Neither he nor the crowd were celebrating at the end of the game. One of the bigger worries for a formidable Mumbai unit was how dependent their attack was on Malinga's form, something they will have to address after losing despite a solid batting effort.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo